The new economy may have startup muscles, a sustainable skeleton, web-based mobile brains and a socially responsible heart, but its blood is the same color as the old economy’s: green.

Banking and finance are integral to the success of the new economy. Its collaborative consumption platforms, co-working spaces, worker cooperatives all still rely on loans and investments to succeed. And innovative, slow-money financial ideas haven’t always received the same attention as the enterprises they fund.

But awareness is growing, and some organizations are actively working to promote this awareness.

Tonight, Wednesday, Impact Hub Oakland is hosting “Local Investment Options For Everyone” an event about local investing that is part of its summer “Hacking the Economy” series. With an emphasis on the implications that banking locally has for small business loans, and discussions of the new organizations and opportunities in the field of local investing, these events are an important part of the movement to educate people about how their money can participate in the new economy. And it’s not just this Wednesday, there are more local investing and finance events coming up in July and August.

The thing about the new economy is it’s full of new ideas (as well as quite a few old ideas with new names). Sure, sure, there doesn’t appear to be much in the way of great new ideas involved with the national and global economies, but that’s because the new economy is being built in the only way that makes any sense: from the ground up. Which means it’s small, it’s local, it’s innovative and it’s hard to keep track of.

So to help you keep abreast of the jargon, and get the most out of upcoming events, here’s a few important terms that are part of the conversation about financing the new economy.

Impact Investing: A umbrella term that refers to investments made with consideration of social and environmental impacts as well as financial returns, especially investments in companies that explicitly emphasize these issues.  As a movement, it is not strictly preferential to local investment.

Slow Money: A movement started as an adjunct to the slow food movement, it focuses on investing in small, local food enterprises that emphasize environmentalist practices. The idea of slow money also refers to the prioritization of stable, low-return investing as opposed to volatile, jack-pot hungry investing.

Community Currency: Several local alternative currencies have been developed in the Bay area, including Bay Bucks, Oakland Grown, and Bernal Bucks. The goal of alternative currencies is to promote regional industry, incentivize shopping locally, and increase the local retention of economic activity. Alternative currencies are similar to other alternative exchange models, such as time banking, in that they de-emphasize cash in favor of community.

Direct Public Offering: Often referred to as DPOs, these are securities (stocks) sold to investors directly by the company seeking funding, instead of through an exchange or firm.  Additionally these sales are not limited to accredited investors, so anyone in the community can make a small investment.  These are much more viable  now with the rise of crowdfunding platforms to connect businesses with potential investors.

The Commons: A term used to refer collectively to all the public resources, cultural and environmental, that are shared by everyone.  Often used in discussions of the externalities of industry, such as the loss of commons wealth in the form of air and water quality that result from the generation of private wealth through business.

Community Banks:  Local banks aren’t at all new, but they are surprisingly important and surprisingly under-appreciated.  They do more than half of the local lending to small businesses, they make small loans that big banks can’t be bothered with, and work with under-served communities.  It is important to note that their ability to make these loans is directly tied to the deposits they take in as part of their banking services.

Social Capital:  On one hand, social capital refers to a 100 year old idea about actual economic value of human interaction and accumulated-familiarity within a system, but the term has also come to be aligned with the organization Social Capital Markets, which hosts the SOCAP social enterprise events and emphasizes impact investing.


Hacking Economy Summer Series: Local Investment Options for Everyone

Wednesday, July 16 at 6:30PM – 8:30PM
Impact Hub Oakland, 2323 Broadway, Oakland CA
Price: Impact Hub Members: $5
Non-Members: $10