The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and CNBC + Acorns’ Invest in You: Ready. Set. Grow. will host a virtual town hall on Wednesday, September 30, from 1:00 – 2:00 pm EST. The event aims to address critical issues facing small businesses and share solutions that can rebuild our economy while leveling the playing field.

“Our communities are reeling from an economic halt while facing racial justice issues that strike the core of our nation,” stated town hall organizers. “As we rebuild in a post-COVID world, we need to ensure small and new businesses not only survive but thrive. Businesses less than five years old create nearly all net new jobs in the country, yet they continue to be left out of the national dialogue. This is especially true for people of color, women, and rural entrepreneurs.”

The Local Crowd will ask a question relating to how we can best leverage the Shop Indie Local movement this holiday season.  The Local Crowd, along with the American Independent Business Alliance and others, will lead this year’s Shop Indie Local effort starting on November 1.  By gathering ideas from industry leaders, we hope to discover new ways to amplify this movement.  We can’t wait to hear answers from their panel of speakers.

Registration is free. Please reserve your seat today!

As COVID-19 pushed dining, performances and other primarily indoor activities outdoors, placemaking has become a critical tool for transforming underutilized public spaces into safe gathering places. Think of the public spaces you live, work or travel by every day — parks, streets and other publicly owned spaces. Placemaking turns those public spaces into places that boost our health, happiness and well being.

True placemakers listen first. They ask questions and learn how people currently live, work and play in a space — and explore what needs or dreams individuals have for that space and their community.

Then, placemakers design spaces that build upon community assets, serve a diversity of needs, build social networks and forward multiple initiatives. Placemaking includes adding permanent or temporary elements such as seating, public art, gardens and crosswalks.

The Local Crowd invites communities to use our tool to listen and gather their community to support their placemaking efforts. Please stay connected to learn more!

Community Economist Michael Shuman Presents
Rebooting Your Economy After COVID

Introductory Webinar: Rebooting Your Community After COVID – How to Invest Locally Using Self-Directed IRAs and Solo 401ks

The Local Crowd will host an online introductory webinar with community economist and author Michael H. Shuman called “Rebooting Your Community After COVID – How to Invest Locally Using Self-Directed IRAs and Solo 401ks” on Thursday, October 15, 2020, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. This event is free, but registration is required.

Register today!

“When the pandemic recedes, we all will be called upon to take extraordinary steps to revive the local businesses that serve as the foundation of our communities,” shared Shuman. “One critically important step will be for you and other members of your community to move your investment capital from Wall Street to Main Street.”

The event’s target audience includes community members with tax-deferred retirement accounts, whether a 401k or IRA, interested in moving a portion of their money to local businesses, projects, or people. Others who might benefit from this event are local business people looking for new sources of capital, community economic developers, and those looking for new ways to solve local economic problems and strengthen local resiliency.

Shuman, a leading visionary on community economics, serves as Director of Local Economy Programs for Neighborhood Associates Corporation and Adjunct Professor at Bard Business School in New York City. He is also a Senior Researcher for Council Fire and Local Analytics, where he performs economic-development analyses for states, local governments, and businesses around North America. His three most recent books are Put Your Money Where Your Life Is: How to Invest Locally Using Solo 401ks and Self-Directed IRAs; The Local Economy Solution: How Innovative, Self-Financing Pollinator Enterprises Can Grow Jobs and Prosperity; and Local Dollars, Local Sense: How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street.

Event partners include Green Energy Options, Greater Keene Chamber of Commerce, Monadnock Food Co-op, The Local Crowd Monadnock, Vital Communities and Hannah Grimes Center for Entrepreneurship.

Questions? Please contact Jen Risley at jen@thelocalcrowd.com or 603-283-5401.


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August is Eat Local Month in New Hampshire and Massachusetts (and maybe in your state, too).  Regardless, if it’s official or not, August’s cornucopia of crops presents us with the perfect time to celebrate local farms, food producers and local food systems.

Many TLC communities leverage our program to gather their local food crowd and invest in parts of their local food system.  We love supporting these communities in their work and envision these investments deepening over time.  Each new crowdfunding campaign cultivates connections that lead to change throughout the entire system — to benefit not just individual farmers and food entrepreneurs, but all the pieces needed to bring local food from the farm to our plates: the soil, farmworkers, transportation networks, markets and more.  We want to support everything required to grow, harvest and distribute local goods to us.

So, in honor of Eat Local Month, we’ve highlighted some popular local food-related campaigns to feast on.  Perhaps these campaigns will inspire your community to explore working with us in the future. (We sure hope so!)

Di, Kim, Jessica, Amanda, Jen & Katelyn

P.S.: If you haven’t visited our website lately, please check out our new design. We really love it.


Crowdfunding can “democratize” access to capital — fueling entrepreneurs locked out of traditional funding channels such as women, and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) entrepreneurs. The Local Crowd continues its work to bring the power of crowdfunding to more and more communities. One such community, represented by OmniWorks, serves BIPOC entrepreneurs in Los Angeles. Their online incubator program just attracted their largest cohort yet.

“By focusing on entrepreneurs that are often overlooked by other incubator and accelerator programs, we are democratizing access to capital, markets, and financial and business education, resulting in more sustainable community-based businesses, quality jobs, and wealth generation,” said Brent Imai, OmniWorks Founder and CEO.

TLC’s intentions include melding this benefit, access to capital for individual entrepreneurs, with another crowdfunding outcome — strengthening social capital, beyond each individual entrepreneur, and into the whole community.

At TLC, we believe that humanity is at its best when we care for one another. We work hard to make sharing and caring easier for you.

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We write to you today with open hearts — full of love, compassion, and care. We stand with those fighting for justice. We grieve for the loss of life and economic wellbeing caused by the COVID-19 crisis. We recognize that we are living through a time when the “reset button” has been pushed on our society — rebooting the way that we live our lives.

Institutions, practices, systems, beliefs, and values are all being challenged in huge ways, and in real-time. We know that the unjust and unsustainable systems of our past need to be reset, and now, more than ever, we are focused on envisioning and implementing new solutions — that create an economy and society that work for all.

This is the purpose of the Fourth Sector. We are excited about a new initiative organized by The Fourth Sector Group that envisions building “a better post-COVID-19 economy that leaves no one behind, overcomes the structural barriers to equality and transparency and puts purpose first so that our planet and society can thrive for generations to come.”

This is a multi-stakeholder effort that brings together fourth sector activists from all walks of life. Check out the COVID-19 Fourth Sector Response website and take special note of the “Action” tab. Respond to the call for involvement from government workers, policymakers, business leaders, investors, academics, media, entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and citizens.

Di, Kim, Jessica, Amanda, Jen & Katelyn

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East Los Angeles, CA – If you are looking for something new in outdoor footwear, Jorge Gurrola has just the thing. The Huarache Sport Sandal is a modern take on the traditional footwear of the Anahuac people of southern Mexico. The sandal sports a dual-post design; where a flip flop would have a single “post” between your big toe and your second toe, the Huarache Sport Sandal has a second post in between your 3rd and 4th toe. 

If you want to bring home a pair of the Huaraches while also supporting a new social enterprise, then all you have to do is click the link and place an order.

This crowdfunding campaign is a result of Gurrola’s participation in ESTEC LA™ Incubator – powered by OmniWorks™, a business incubation program created through a partnership between OmniWorks™ and the East LA College Foundation. The incubator’s mission is to create new initiatives to incubate and accelerate startup and growth-phase women, veteran, minority, formerly incarcerated, and LGBTQ owned businesses in East Los Angeles.” ESTEC LA™ is the first such incubator in the East LA region.

Funding is a significant challenge for early stage and start-up businesses. The Kauffman Foundation for Entrepreneurship reports that “a surprisingly high percentage of entrepreneurs – more than 83% – do not access bank loans or venture capital. And, access to capital presents an even greater challenge when it comes to people of color, women, and individuals of limited wealth. Many of these entrepreneurs are left to rely on personal sources of capital, primarily personal savings, credit cards, or home equity lines.”¹

ESTEC LA™ has been working with crowdfunding consultancy Crowdfund Better in an effort to fill the funding gap for would-be Angeleño entrepreneurs. Crowdfund Better hosted a 12-week crowdfunding workshop focused on helping participants raise critical seed funding for their businesses.

Jorge Gurrola holding up a sandal from Mazatli Footwear

The campaign is hosted by The Local Crowd, LLC, a community-based crowdfunding platform with a focus on social entrepreneurship. The partnership serves as a pilot study sponsored by the National Science Foundation. The effort is designed to understand and support businesses whose mission integrates social and environmental impacts with a market-driven revenue model. 

Jorge Gurrola is an unlikely hero for the footwear industry. But with a crowdfunding campaign building momentum, Gurrola is showing that there may be other, untapped sources of capital for those who know how to find it.

While Gurrola’s campaign is modest, his vision is not: Gurrola plans to establish a manufacturing facility that will bring jobs and much needed economic vitality to East Los Angeles. Order your Sport Huarache Sandals today.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Summer Research Cohort Means Extra Benefits and Savings
The Time is Now to Launch a Crowdfunding Campaign


Laramie, Wyoming, June 18, 2019. Businesses and organizations dedicated to helping people, enhancing society or improving the environment are invited to raise money as part of a special crowdfunding cohort this summer on The Local Crowd.

The Local Crowd recently won an NSF SBIR research award to identify ways to support the growth and sustainability of businesses that contribute positively to society. As part of the study, TLC is forming a summer cohort of businesses that want to raise money through crowdfunding. Cohort members will receive free services such as training, coaching, and networking. In addition, cohort members will have an opportunity to earn back the standard 5% platform fee by meeting specific goals.

Cohort applications will be accepted through July 27. For more information, visit TheLocalCrowd.com, contact Jason@thelocalcrowd.com, or bring your questions to one of TLC’s weekly “Learn More” sessions, held every Friday at 1 p.m. Mountain Time. Sessions are recorded, and all registrants will receive access to the recording.

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About The Local Crowd

The Local Crowd’s crowdfunding/education platform is designed to solve social problems and make the world a better place by catalyzing community support for social enterprises.

Twitter: @TLCpower
FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/thelocalcrowd/
Website: https://www.thelocalcrowd.com/rfp/
Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $7.8 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering.

Research & Development to provide support for the emerging Fourth Sector of the economy.

The Local Crowd, LLC, a Wyoming-based company, is the recipient of a $225,000 National Science Foundation grant designed to support the emerging fourth sector of the economy.

“We are seeing a huge push for socially and environmentally responsible business,” said Diane Sontum, co-founder of The Local Crowd. “We believe that consumers are demanding a more conscious form of capitalism.”

The Local Crowd combines a world class crowdfunding platform with a peer learning process. “We have found that your chance of success goes up when you have people with you who can share in your journey,” said Sontum, “Many first time crowdfunders are not sure how to improve their odds. We realized there was a need for education and support. Our success rate is hovering around 60% right now and we anticipate that it will increase.”

Social Enterprise in Focus

The platform will feature campaigns that take on pressing social or environmental challenges.

According to Heerad Sabeti, CEO of the Fourth Sector Group, “a new, fourth sector of the economy has emerged at the intersection of the three traditional sectors. It consists of for-benefit organizations, which come in a wide variety of models that all share two common characteristics. Like non-profits, their primary purpose is to advance societal benefit and, like for-profits, they generate a substantial portion of their income from business activities.”

“The fourth sector of the economy is poised to solve many of the world’s most difficult and complex social problems,” remarked Sontum. “However, this sector cannot work effectively without a supportive ecosystem that enables the creation, funding, and operation of organizations within it. We are building tools that will support owners and entrepreneurs within the Fourth Sector ecosystem.”

About The Local Crowd

The team at The Local Crowd will offer a community based “crowdfunding incubator.” The team consists of Diane Sontum, CEO and cofounder, Kim Vincent, COO and co founder, and Jason Arnold, community manager. The team will use the grant to initiate work with four pilot communities throughout the U.S.

This Phase I award was supported by a $5,000 Phase 0 contract from the Wyoming SBDC Network’s SBIR/STTR Initiative. The team at The Local Crowd used the Phase 0 funds to travel for meetings with strategic partners and for proposal development. The Local Crowd also received matching SBIR funds from the Wyoming Business Council.

“The National Science Foundation (NSF) supports startups and small businesses with the most innovative, cutting-edge ideas that have the potential to become great commercial successes and make huge societal impacts,” said Graciela Narcho, Acting Director of Division of Industrial Innovation and Partnerships at NSF. “We hope that seed funding will spark solutions to some of the most important challenges of our time across all areas of science and technology.”

If you are a social enterprise

The team at The Local Crowd is seeking social and environmentally motivated enterprises in their initial research. To take part in a 30-minute, structured interview, please contact The Local Crowd.
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LARAMIE, November 20, 2017—The Local Crowd (TLC), a rewards-based crowdfunding platform, won a Crowdfundie Award presented at the Global Crowdfunding Conference in Las Vegas, last month. The award recognizes outstanding contributions to the crowdfunding industry. The Local Crowd is hosted by community economic development groups in 12 states, where Local residents have used the platform to raise more than $172,000 for their businesses and organizations.

Co-founders Diane Wolverton and Kim Vincent accepted the award at a VIP event at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas. “We are super excited to receive this reward — on behalf of all The Local Crowd communities!” Wolverton said. “TLC host communities have been working very hard to launch this tool. Each community creates an ecosystem where people understand crowdfunding and show up to support each other’s projects. It is very gratifying to see this work recognized!”

The Global Crowdfunding Conference (GCC) founded by Ruth E. Hedges, is the Crowdfunding Industry’s flagship event. This convention brings the global crowdfunding community together to learn, share and co-create the future of the industry—an industry that is experiencing explosive growth. In 2016 start-ups, non-profits and entrepreneurs raised more than $60 billion in capital from crowdfunding. This is a huge jump from just four years ago when in 2012 crowdfunding raised $1.7 billion in capital. Hedges commented, “I love what The Local Crowd is doing. It fills a very important niche in the industry.”

The Local Crowd platform is specifically designed for rural communities. In conjunction with community hosts, TLC provides education, support and hyper-local tools to connect local businesses and organizations with the capital they need.

The Local Crowd’s work has been supported by the Wyoming Small Business Development Center as well as Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to research and develop their capital raising tool for rural communities. Technology is provided by Community Funded Enterprises of Fort Collins, Colorado.