ComCap, the National Coalition for Community Capital’s annual conference on using community capital to promote shared prosperity, is coming to Detroit this year.
Running from June 11-13 at the College for Creative Studies’ A. Alfred Taubman Center and other smaller venues, ComCap19 will feature 56 speakers over 30 sessions.
"We have been working on this movement in Michigan since 2012," says Angela Barbash. Barbash is the principal at Ypsilanti-based Revalue Investing and an instrumental figure in bringing the conference to Michigan.
In their everyday work, Barbash and her collaborators focus on promoting the importance of shared prosperity through community capital on a smaller scale. That includes efforts such as weekend conferences and community education meetings.
Over the years, she's taught many people the importance of investing in businesses in their communities in order to promote economic equity within those very communities.
"I have found that people understand that when they spend a dollar locally, it has a higher rate of circulation in the community," Barbash says. "It's the same principle when investing locally."
She explains that if someone were to allocate even one percent of their portfolio to a locally-owned business, there is certainly potential that the company would not succeed in the long run. But there is an even greater chance that the money will actually circulate, making a local ripple effect that wouldn't happen if it had been invested in publicly traded stocks.
"When you start circulating more capital in your community, there's more opportunities for people who have not had access to capital," Barbash says. "There's more opportunities for people to raise their hands and say, 'Hey, I've got a great idea,' or 'I have this business that's growing and I could use some capital too.'"
Barbash pushed for ComCap to be held in Michigan this year because she felt the timing is right for the state to be offered a more in-depth learning opportunity on community capital.
"I feel that Michigan has hit enough of a tipping point that the broader entrepreneurial ecosystem would appreciate learning in a more structured way," Barbash says.
She stresses that the conference is designed to be welcoming both to those new to the topic of community capital, and to those who are already well-versed and engaged in the movement.
"There are a fair amount of sessions that are very one-on-one-oriented with explanations, definitions, and the history of the movement. And there are also a number of sessions that are really deep and technical on specific topics," Barbash says.
A few items on the agenda are: "Community Capital 101," "Restorative Economics: Can Capital Help Heal Communities?," "Models and Opportunities for Shared Prosperity," and "Community Power: Using Community Capital to Create Local Green Energy Economies."
"My community, your community, everyone's community now has the opportunity to shape our economies to serve all its people," Barbash says. "It's up to us to make the most of this new economic power. This conference is all about how to do that."
ComCap19 tickets are priced from $175-$450 and can be purchased here.
Jaishree Drepaul-Bruder is a freelance writer and editor currently in based in Ann Arbor. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image courtesy of ComCap.