Speed Dating For Small Business Owners?

By Susan Tompor
Detroit Free Press.

It’s a quirky little idea. What if you could let small-business owners go on a speed dating spree to meet with experts who can talk about how to maximize cash flow, use social media to market a product, or give tips on how to use micro lending or crowdfunding to raise capital?

Quirky, yes. But Money Smart Week is full of all sorts of clever ways to get the community thinking about how we spend, save and, yes, even how we waste our money.

Angela Barbash, founder of Reconsider, a research and development firm in Ypsilanti, will be one of the experts hosting a speed dating table at the “Small Biz Buzz” seminar to be held Tuesday.

She’ll be talking about the Michigan Invests Locally Exemption, which offers game-changing potential for local restaurants, brew pubs and Main Street-oriented outfits to raise capital through intrastate investment crowdfunding.

Barbash, 34, noted that campaigns like Kickstarter might raise about $5,000 or so for a local business. But she maintains that the Michigan program, known as the MILE Act, has the potential to raise $100,000 or $150,000 in many cases and rebuild local economies.

The MILE Act, signed into law in 2013, expands investment opportunities by allowing Michigan residents to support local businesses.

One of her tips: Small business owners need to research the various options out there for raising money to expand their business or launch a new idea.

Often, business consultants or attorneys might not be aware of all that’s out there in the crowdfunding arena, she said. “You really need to be an informed entrepreneur,” Barbash said.

Money Smart Week runs through Saturday. The financial education program was created by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago in 2002.

This year, more than 500 free, noncommercial education events will take place in more than 50 counties across Michigan.

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