WELCOME TO THE BERKSHIRE-COLUMBIA INVESTMENT NETWORK !
Our Purpose : To create a local investment opportunity network in order to facilitate relationships between investors and borrowers as a way of strengthening the economic viability and sustainability of the region and in order to foster a more vibrant sense of community.
Our Rationale : Investors increasingly distrust Wall Street and the large banks and wish to both support local businesses and institutions as well as to know where their money is going. At the same time they wish to get a reasonable return on their money. Borrowers and entrepreneurs often cannot get the financing they need at a reasonable cost from local banks and credit institutions and appreciate the interest and support of local investors and lenders. The BERKSHIRE-COLUMBIA INVESTMENT NETWORK is an alternative solution to conventional financial markets by being a form of association and mutual support which allows a meeting between local investors and borrowers to take place, thereby supporting a sustainable local economy and a healthier society. It is based on the successful experience of Local Investment Opportunity Networks, (LION), in Port Townsend, WA. Ithica, NY. and other communities.
Legal Form : A membership Association which facilitates the meeting between investors and borrowers. Investment decisions and legal relationships between investors and borrowers are the responsibility of individuals, not of the association. The association may recommend groups and institutions who have experience in both crafting legal agreements and servicing the loans. Such groups will not be formal part of the association.
Membership : Membership is open to anyone sharing the aims of the Berkshire-Columbia Investment Network and able to invest at least $5000. in local ventures.
Activities: The basic activity of the association is to have periodic meetings in which investors and borrowers meet. Those needing investment support present their projects after having filled out an application with an enclosed business plan. The association will ask the Small Business Development Centers in Albany and Pittsfield to review applications prior to presentation in their particular state and region. The association may also stimulate the creation of an advisory group of retired business people to provide support for individuals and institutions seeking financial support from Association members. Upon receiving support borrowers would join the association as members at a nominal fee.
Viability : The LION’s model has been worked with successfully since 2007 in a variety of community settings and has developed appropriate legal forms. The oldest LION venture is in Port Townsend, Washington, a community not dissimilar to this area. It and similar initiatives can be accessed on the web.