I am happy to report that Entrepreneur Showcase and Resource Exchange held on Saturday May 14, 2011 completely sold out to a standing room only crowd at The Commons, a project space to incubate sustainable business in downtown Brooklyn.
In a whirlwind afternoon full of great energy, we kept up a brisk pace, shuttling through impressive presentations by 10 sustainable food and farming entrepreneurs, 2 panel discussions involving 11 experts and a vibrant resource exchange with over 20+ businesses displaying wares, products, services and information to accelerate the development of new ventures.
During the day, the feedback that I got has been overwhelmingly positive. Seasoned investors approached me spontaneously to say how much they enjoyed the event. Investor Tim Gallivan (also a Slow Money founder) wrote that the Showcase was a “beautifully organized program” and “a treat to spend an afternoon with that much brain power, creativity, and enthusiasm.”
We are so thankful for the amazing efforts of all of the presenting entrepreneurs, taking time to be part of Showcase and pulling together impactful presentations in a short amount of time. Even better, the entrepreneurs themselves seemed to get a lot out of the Showcase. For instance, Erick Smith from Cayuga Pure Organics, one of our presenters, gave us some great feedback:
Even if we never raised a penny directly from this event, it was an invaluable experience just for the people I met and the conversations I had. The world of investors was totally foreign to me. So this Showcase was a great learning experience — a venue that offered such a friendly and supportive introduction to this world. I want to compliment you and all the wonderful Slow Money people at the event on your ability to support us and make us feel at ease.
Other potentially great news is that the Showcase may have helped catalyze a future funding deal – Kortright Creek Creamery is now having conversations with an investor to fund their processing facility. They vow to give me the solid details if they materialize. Stay tuned!
It’s amazing how animating it is to hear and see a presentation by impassioned entrepreneurs in person. I have a renewed sense of urgency about funding these business innovators. Slow Money NYC will be gearing up discussions about what products and services we might develop. I believe that the value of the Slow Money Showcase was creating a safe, warm and supportive space for this new, alternative dialogue about investing that really can help spark deal flow in a different way than the standard somewhat cold “meet markets” that trade conferences tend to provide. The Showcase reminded that investing differently, slowly involves more than simply getting money to change hands. We have to develop new relationships to build deeper trust so that the financial investment is girded by a real social connection and meaningful cultural understanding.
I am looking forward to taking a breath and taking stock. However, our success yesterday convinces me that we will have great energy behind our next steps. Slow Money NYC is planning an upcoming meeting at Hot Bread Kitchen, a commercial kitchen and educational center in Harlem’s La Marqueta that helps food entrepreneurs get started. We will also discuss how Slow Money NYC can help build support, sponsorship and attendance for the Slow Money National Gathering in San Francisco on October 12, 2011.
In closing, I am so honored to have worked with such an excellent and talented planning committee consisting of myself, Brian Kaminer, Nicole Reed and Holly Howard. We owe huge thanks to our excellent volunteer staff — Lauren Servin, Erika Hval, Juell Stewart, Betsy Immershein and Robert McCanless. You all made a Slow Money time investment with no expectation of conventional returns, enhancing our local sustainable food and farming economy in the process. We received amazing advice and support from Slow Money National. A big thanks goes to David Corson-Knowles, Arno Hesse, Michael Bartner, Ari Derfel and Woody Tasch over the course of the last six months. Special thanks to Slow Money Board Member Chris Lindstrom (recently arrived in Brooklyn) who attended and made a great contribution to the discussions formally and informally.