Why Does SMNW only do Accredited Investor Only meetings?

To date Slow Money NW has been one of the most sure successful regional chapters in the national Slow Money efforts. Part of that success is because we have have tried to ensure that our efforts were legal and targeted towards what businesses and investors said they needed. Since opening its doors our  in 2010, we have provided business development assistance to 40 WA and OR based businesses and successfully helped 7 businesses secure investments of  about $5  million. We now have a track record that is attracting financial contributions to do more work, but not yet enough to do all that we want to do.

Gearing up for another accredited investor meeting is always fun and challenging because on the one hand we are directly connecting investors with businesses, and on the other hand excluding people who are not accredited investors. The fun and excitement comes from knowing that good people have good businesses worth hearing, and that good people want to help and invest in good businesses working to grow our regional food economy.

There are two federal legal restrictions on public access to private business investment opportunities: that investors be aware of the risks and resilient to the potential losses; and that we only invite investors with whom we have an existing relationship.

First, accred-only events are exclusionary. The SEC has a clear definition of who is, and therefore who is not, an accredited investor. The quick and simplified reason for these classifications basically dates back to the 1920’s when ‘snake oil’ salesman sold uninformed investors items that sounded really good but cost people their life savings, their retirement, their homes. Rules were set in place during the Depression to make sure that people who invested directly in private businesses (compared to public stock exchange listed companies and mutual funds) understood the risks and could afford to make them. Second, violations of these restrictions include public announcement of the investment opportunities, such as posting the details of the companies presenting on our web site. This is why you do not see our current presentation meetings on our website, and why it is only seen through our direct email invitation. For more information about who may receive invitations and attend events, please contact us directly.

For those that do not meet the SEC definition above, and do not have an existing relationship with Slow Money NW, and want to help transform the regional food system, see our post Beyond Accredited Investor Options on ways that you can get involved. Thanks for your patience as we build out what we have started and continue to create innovative, safe, and legal opportunities for people to connect to the businesses we all want to grow.

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