Locally Sourced Community Investment Dinner to Fund Local Entrepreneurs’ Projects

Published Friday, April 15, 2016 at 11:54 am

Supporting Economic Alternatives in the Mountains (SEAM) announces its fifth community investment dinner on April 25th, 2016 at The New Public House. At the locally-sourced dinner, community members direct funding by voting on emerging entrepreneurs’ projects. SEAM, a High Country Local First project, threads together bold entrepreneurial ideas and community investments in the High Country through participatory decision making.

All are invited to attend. The last four dinners have sold out before the dinner, and tickets are expected to go fast. They can be purchased online at seamnc.org for $30. Doors for the dinner will open at 6 PM with locally-produced beverages and music by William Ritter. The dinner will begin at 6:30 PM.

This unique dinner fosters relationships between community members and emerging High Country entrepreneurs in need of funds. At the dinner 3 selected applicants will present their proposals to community members with ticket sales providing project funding. All 3 projects will receive awards, but with varying levels of investment. Following the presentations, dinner attendees will choose to fund each project at three levels (60%, 30%, and 10%) of the crowd-sourced funds raised through the dinner tickets.

“We hope our 5th SEAM Dinner will continue to ignite conversations about innovative projects in our community, ” said Dave Walker, SEAM co-organizer and Ascent Business Network Program Manager, adding “What makes these dinners unique and powerful is that they form connections between neighbors who have a monetary and personal investment in seeing each one another do well.”

A challenge to the traditional funding model, participatory, community investments empower community members to “vote with their dollar” on local projects. This process cultivates relationships between community members and local entrepreneurs by providing an opportunity for direct involvement in the funding process.

The Projects

  • Garnet Rose Soap Company seeks funding to increase networking opportunities by entering festivals and events across North Carolina and the southeastern states.
  • The Mountain Thread Company seeks funding to grow and improve its sewing classes.
  • Tanya Ince seeks funding to continue her professional development by attending the 8th Annual International Energy Psychology Conference.

Former SEAM grant-awardees Rusty Kuhfeld and Matt Webb of Homestead Mushrooms stated, “At the end of the dinner, we looked at ourselves and both realized the monetary benefit from this event is not by any means the greatest reward we received. The experience from marketing ourselves and witnessing the positive reception of our ideas by fellow community members has been priceless.”

This will be the second time the SEAM Dinner has been held at The New Public House. Previous dinners have been held at Basil’s Fresh Pasta & Deli, CoBo Sushi Bar & Bistro, and Lost Province. And, previous dinners have been supported by Appalachian State University’s Transportation Insight Center for Entrepreneurship, Art of Oil, Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture, and Sustain Appalachian.

To learn more about the proposals and the dinner, please visit seamnc.org. You can also reach co-organizer, Dave Walker, by email at seamnc.org or by telephone at (828) 278-4440.

This event is a part of Greening My Plate Month, a celebration of spring and locally-grown food.

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