The Corvallis Independent Business Alliance (CIBA) provided a welcoming and energetic atmosphere during their “Small Change, Big Change: Investing In Our Community” workshop, held November 16, 2012. The free, public event boasted four presenters, each of whom provided information about building and sustaining a strong local economy.
First to speak was Christopher Legg, founder of Occupy Corvallis. Legg was motivated to begin the campaign because the city of Corvallis holds some of its financial accounts with Wells Fargo. “We would like to see the city push for the state of Oregon to move its investments into local entities,” says Legg. He stressed the importance of utilizing credit unions rather than large banking corporations to keep more money functioning within the local community. More information about Occupy Corvallis can be found on their website: www.owscorvallis.com
Next came Amy Pearl of Springboard Innovation, a business that launched in 2004. “Our focus,” says Pearl, “is on healthy communities, and healthy communities are created by all of us!” She explained the difference between accredited and unaccredited investors, and stressed the need for unaccredited investors to engage with local business investments. In addition, she brought up the process of Direct Public Offerings—a system that has been legal since 1934. Direct Public Offerings allow people in the community, unaccredited investors, to invest in local small businesses. For more information on Direct Public Offerings, visit www.springboardinnovation.org and www.cuttingedgecapital.com.
Cindee Lolik, General Manager for the First Alternative Co-Op, illuminated the various benefits that arise from local cooperative systems. “Why are co-ops trusted more by their members than non co-ops?” she asked the audience at large. “Because you know what you’re getting, that’s why!” She then highlighted the seven principles all co-ops operate on: 1. Voluntary and open membership. 2. Democratic member control. 3. Member economic participation. 4. Autonomy and Independence. 5. Education, training, and information. 6. Cooperation among cooperatives. 7. Concern for the community. To learn more about these seven principles and how they help our local co-op serve the community, see the website for First Alternative. You will find this information in the “About” section under “International Cooperative Principles.”
Wrapping up the introductory presentations was Cheryl Good. Good is the current chair of the Corvallis HOUR Exchange, a non-profit organization that has provided education and tools that promote community-based economics. HOURS are a form of local currency. They are printed notes whose value is determined by those using it. “Corvallis HOUR exchange provides a local treasury of goods, skills, and talents. We call it “slow money” because HOURS tend to take longer to spend than US dollars because you really stop and think about what your time is worth,” says the energetic Good, “Using HOURS helps local money to be continuously recycled throughout the community. They keep the money here longer.” Visit their website at www.hourexchange.org for more information on how to participate in the HOURS program and for a current directory of HOUR Exchange participants.
The Corvallis Independent Business Alliance is a true asset for our community’s small business owners. The four speakers they enlisted were a wonderful example of Corvallis’ resourceful dedication to improving and promoting our local economy.
by Lisa Tedder