By Eden Yesh

In today’s interconnected world, it’s easy to see how your hard earned money can end up going towards projects and businesses all over the world. In 2013, tax filers in the Town of Creston alone contributed $4.4Million into their RRSP’s, much of that money leaving the valley and Canada to be put to work elsewhere in the world. Imagine what an impact we could have by re-directing just 5% of that money back into our communities? The idea of Community Impact Investing aims to do just that.

Community Impact Investing is the process of connecting local investors to local investment opportunities. An investment committee will screen local investment opportunities for risks and rewards, and bring their top choices to a group of local investors. While the demand for investing locally is increasing, the traditional investment options available to investors limit where they can invest. The result is that almost all local investment capital leaves our community and is invested into far off stock markets and corporations. An unintended consequence is that while our investments create significant jobs and wealth elsewhere in the world, the places we live, work and play are overlooked.

Kootenay Employment Services Society (KES) and a group of twenty regional stakeholders have been motivated by stories from around the world about local investment vehicles successfully meeting community needs. In particular, the group has been inspired by examples that have funded rural affordable housing, renewable energy and agri-food infrastructure – projects that can be extremely difficult to finance through traditional methods. Local investments tend to generate not only employment and economic activity, but also civic pride and new attitudes about local ability to drive positive community change.

The Creston & District Business Retention and Expansion Study (2016) revealed that just under half of businesses in our region plan to expand within 3 years, yet availability of financing was identified as a top barrier to business expansion. Over the past year KES staff, guided by the twenty regional stakeholders, completed a robust feasibility study and business plan to establish a local investment tool: The Creston & District Community Investment Co-op (CDCI CO-OP).

“The CDCI CO-OP aims to direct new, or pre-existing, investment capital from local residents into local businesses and projects and will service communities from Yahk to Riondel.” – says Eden Yesh, project coordinator.

The CDCI CO-OP is looking for a maximum of 150 Creston & District residents to become member/investors. An information session for East Shore residents will be held at the Crawford Bay Community Hall on Tuesday December 6th , from 6:00-8:00pm. This presentation will explain the CDCI CO-OP business model and the opportunity for local investors to become involved. Food and drinks will be provided and admission is free.

RSVP to the December 6th session at www.communityinvestmentcoop.ca
or contact Eden Yesh at cdcic@kes.bc.ca or 250-428-5655 ext. 401

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