Slow Money is taking enormous strides forward with the announcement of Gatheround, a next-generation crowdfunding platform. Gatheround will catalyze the flow of capital into small businesses vital to healthy local economies and a more resilient food system. Slow Money announced Gatheround to an intimate audience of 725 at its fourth Slow Money National Gathering held this week in Boulder, Colo. Gatheround works by allowing everyday people, not just accredited investors, to contribute small tax-deductible donations to the Gatheround nonprofit fund. This money is then invested as a zero percent loan into selected emerging businesses. As each business pays back the principle amount of the loan, that money is put back into Gatheround, to be redistributed to other businesses in need.
“A ‘good financier’ says no most of the time,” says Woody Tasch, founder and chairman of Slow Money. “Gatheround is a way for many individuals to say yes to small food enterprises around the country. Money is compost. We want to nurture entrepreneurs from the ground up.”
Slow Money encourages investing in local food enterprises as a way to repair the fragile economy. Food production serves as the nexus between people, places and finance, and is thus the path to a more grounded, stable economy. Potential businesses funded through Gatheround are innovative private enterprises that are building the local, organic food systems of the future. Some examples of these enterprises might include: local farms, restaurants, grain mills, vegetable processors, local distributors, compost companies, grass fed beef operations, fruit producers, hog farmers, non-antibiotic therapies for dairy cattle or inner city food markets and others.
Gatheround’s success is rooted within the extensive groundwork already laid by a network of Slow Money Chapters through the US. These chapters have invested $25 million into local food-related business ventures to date. Gatheround is more than just a funding mechanism; it includes community gatherings, outreach and capacity building. Gatheround connects the ease of online crowdfunding, the knowledge of Slow Money’s established investor network and the power of in-person gatherings to create a new source of growth for small food enterprises.
Slow Money unveiled Gatheround during its successful fourth Slow Money National Gathering that attracted investors, farmers, food entrepreneurs and luminaries. The fourth Slow Money National Gathering was held this week in Boulder, Colo. Gatheround’s first donation was made to Revision International, a nonprofit food enterprise based in Denver, Colo., the winner of the Mamma Chia Entrepreneur of the Year award. Mamma Chia, a company that only three years ago was nurtured with Slow Money investment, donated $25,000. This capital was matched by Slow Money’s new funding tool Gatheround, creating a total prize of $50,000. Mamma Chia also matched $4,100 donated to Gatheround for a People’s Choice award which totalled $8,200, given to Hayden Flour Mills, a company based in Phoenix.