At the mid-March 2018 ConnectUp! MN summit, investors and entrepreneurs in marginalized communities talked about funding opportunities. Equity crowdfunding, for-profit grants, and impact investing were part of a larger conversation about the ways Minnesotans are expanding innovative approaches to wealth-building in local communities.
Some of the thoughts that came out of the one-and-a-half day summit:
• One Black entrepreneur talked to 170 investors to find the one receptive to a multimillion-dollar investment. He said he believes women are the cornerstone of future business because of intuitive intelligence, grit, and passion.
• Data shows that most philanthropy comes from households that make $55,000 or less. Cooperative capital involves pooling money in ways that build wealth in marginalized communities, such as the model of Cooperative Energy Futures, which is bringing low-income North Minneapolis households into the cost savings of renewable energy, and Village Trust, the Black-led North Minneapolis credit union. As we are increasingly conscientious about what we eat, one speaker said, we make more conscious choices about where we put our capital as consumers and investors.
• Older white men are still the financiers. In one new class of hires at an asset management firm, only five out of 55 were women. Currently local investment is going to many “white dudes with breweries.”
• Conveners.org connects mission-driven leaders.