2/3 | 50% | 1%
100 years ago small and mid-sized businesses owned by our neighbors and relatives were abundant. When you needed bread, you went to the bakery down the street. When you needed clothing, you went to the main street merchant who got his supply from the textile factory in the next town over.
Not only did we buy from these businesses, but we owned these businesses, and we invested in these businesses. Our local economy and spending habits looked completely different even just 50 years ago compared to today.
Today we have $30 trillion in long term investment money in the United States sitting in retirement accounts, insurance policies, annuities, stocks, bonds and mutual funds. According to Michael Shuman’s most recent book, Local Dollars Local Sense, less than 1% of that money is invested in small businesses (those with less than 10 employees), even though 50% of our GDP comes from them, and 2/3 of our jobs!
Why is our money allocated so disproportionately?
That’s a great question. How did the financial services industry convince Americans that small businesses are too risky for our investment dollars? Compared to what? The global derivatives markets? Perhaps that risk equation has changed.
How would our lives change if $15 trillion, half of all the long term money, were actually shifted to small businesses and entrepreneurs, in line with how much they contribute to the real economy? Something to think about.
HOW TO PLUG IN
The local investing movement is evolving by the day. Come back often for new resources.
- Spring 2014 Statewide Local Investor Survey results
In an effort to gain an anecdotal understanding of the capital opportunity that exists within the local investing movement, Reconsider partnered with Corp! Magazine to conduct the first statewide survey. 151 responses, 20 counties, $42 million in investable assets. See Corp! Magazine’s story here.
- Learn about Michigan's MILE Act
On December 30, 2013 Michigan became the 4th state in the country to set up a framework for what’s called an ‘intrastate exemption’—which means that if you as a business owner want to raise capital, you can use this new state exemption that lets you not have to register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). In August 2014 Reconsider published a co-learning plan in partnership with Michigan State University Center for Regional Economic Innovation. Check out the other 2014 co-learning plans here.