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Ann Arbor Spark

February 3, 2014

Local Investing Movement taking off in Great Lakes region

By Angela Barbash Founder, Reconsider

February 2014

It’s amazing how small changes can lead to big opportunities. We see this all throughout life, and true to what the bio mimicry people say, it’s natural that we would see this pattern throughout our socially constructed systems as well such as the legal and financial systems.

In September, Rep. Nancy Jenkins’ enterprising Legislative Director Andy Buss provided the primary research needed to introduce what would later become the MILE Act, otherwise known as the Michigan Invests Locally Exemption Act.

What does MILE do?

Passed on December 30th, this new legislation allows Michigan businesses to raise capital ($1 million per year for a new business, $2 million per year for an existing business) from Michigan investors ($10,000 per year per business per person if they have less than $1 million in net worth; unlimited if they have over $1 million). Now the power that the crowdfunding movement has proven exists among the “crowd” can be paired up with the juggernaut of opportunities that the entrepreneurship movement has proven to be to local communities, at least here in Michigan.

Now let’s get the word out.

While certainly these are exciting bits of news, the largest barrier to getting capital circulating around our communities is actually information and market awareness. Even with Reconsider bringing Localstake to Michigan in December (Localstake is a fully operational platform for businesses to raise capital) they haven’t yet received any applications for businesses in Detroit. There are some great events on the calendar that many of the ecosystem advocates in Michigan, including ourselves, will be involved in but nonetheless, getting the word out remains our single biggest obstacle.

The first thing you can do to help is forward this blog post or newsletter to a friend. The second thing you can do is fill out our Statewide Local Investment Sentiment Survey. We launched this survey in partnership with Corp! Magazine so we have real data that we can spread to everyone who works with entrepreneurs and investors across the state. The more responses, the more people will pay attention to the results. The survey will be open until March 31st.

Above all though, the winds are changing. The question for you to answer is how relevant are these local investing advances to you?