Exciting news! Local First is one of five sites across the country participating in a National Science Foundation research project to pilot The Local Crowd, a community crowd funding platform to support social enterprises. Crowdfunding is the process in which an entrepreneur, business or organization asks a large number of people (usually through the Internet) to contribute small amounts of money to support a new business or project. The Local Crowd® works with rural communities to create local crowdfunding ecosystems that support the growth and sustainability of local businesses and organizations. The project will assess the effectiveness of the community crowdfunding program as a tool for community building and economic development while providing access to capital for local businesses and entrepreneurs.

We are fortunate to live in a community that is replete with social enterprises that are mission driven organizations that use business principles to make the world a better place. Social enterprises are part of an emerging 4th sector. The three economic sectors of government, nonprofits and businesses make up our traditional economy.  A new 4th sector combines the mission driven approach of nonprofits with the market driven approach of business. These entrepreneurial ventures are creating financially viable enterprises that prioritize social mission over profit—pioneering new ways to get the work done

Local First will be supporting these businesses by hosting six funding campaigns through The Local Crowd Upper Valley that will launch in the fall. Stay tuned for details!