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Midland community could get new way to invest locally

By newadmin / Published on Tuesday, 30 Jan 2018 12:55 PM / No Comments / 10 views


Published 1:24 am, Tuesday, January 30, 2018

As construction season picks up in Midland, most of the large-scale projects are funded by big investors, foundations and corporations. An effort to get small investors involved locally in community projects is being explored at an event this week.

On Friday, Feb. 2, Midland Tomorrow is co-sponsoring a meeting with Kwaku Osei, CEO of Detroit-based Cooperative Capital, which has a goal of empowering residents to invest in their community. The event is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Carl A. Gerstacker Commerce Center conference room 1A and B, located at 300 Rodd St.

The presentation is expected to last about 30 minutes and allow community members a chance to ask questions.

Jeff Havens, a public speaker and Midland resident, helped spearhead and organize the event with Jeff McGraw of Chemical Bank.

“The overall goal is to drive local investment,” Havens said. “This is not a unique idea, I think it’s important to point out this isn’t just a few people here in town that think this might work, this exists in other places.”

Cooperative Capital in Detroit has started a vehicle for smaller Detroit investors to put their own money back into the community they live in. The Detroit investment company is looking to franchise the model to other cities that have expressed interest, which include Chicago and Oakland. On Friday, Kwaku will discuss the concept of forming a Midland Cooperative Capital.

It’s important to understand that if Cooperative Capital is not a charitable endeavor, Havens said, but rather provides a vehicle for residents to invest locally with the expectation of receiving returns on their investment.

“It would be people here deciding how they want to invest in their own community,” Havens explained.

If a Midland version of Cooperative Capital formed, it would be under the regulatory legal umbrella of the Detroit-based organization. They would provide advice and guidance, but would operate as a franchise, Havens said.

“One of the benefits of (Midland) is that Dow pays well, and people with money are looking to invest,” Havens said.

There is currently not a way for these people to collectively invest locally, so that money usually goes to mutual funds outside of the community, Havens said.

“I know the number of people in this community is significant enough that we could have a lot of traction,” Havens said.

Midland Cooperative Capital would be designed so everyone who “buys in” could vote on local projects to invest into, with a layer of oversight, Havens explained.

Examples of investment projects could be anything from helping a local business expand its operation, to addressing affordable housing or investing in the Midland Mall.

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