Has BECU looked at building systems for their members to more directly support small local businesses? I know BECU already does local loans but I'm thinking of systems where there's a more social connection and more direct involvement with the individuals in the community loaning money. I'm thinking status updates from the company to the individuals loaning money like you see on other platforms.
I'm very active on Kiva but I'd really like to support small businesses in my local communities too.
I supported multiple (Britt's PicklesandParfait Ice Cream) on Community Sourced Capital Before they stopped doing new loans. I was really hoping that it would grow because I loved that platform. Their report on their challenges before the shut down made me think that maybe the solution is a credit union like BECU?
I've also done a bunch of one-off things on Kickstarter likeThe Pocket Theater andCentral CinemaandScarecrow Video. Though those were mostly art donations. It seems harder to do that model for a non-art business, no matter how much it's loved by the community. And certainly harder to get people to take a risk on something new.
Recently, a bakery in my neighborhood funded an expansion through Kickstarter. Which was successful because they're so popular but it doesn't seem like the best platform for this sort of thing. The hoops that they had to go through to turn backer rewards into a loan/pre-order was overly complicated.
I also feel like I miss lots of stuff there. And as much as I like supporting those projects, there's something so effective about loans that come back to be loaned out again. I don't even need to earn interest (though it would obviously be nice and might bring in more people) but the compounding effect of things like Kiva is really amazing.