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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Using Virtual Communities To Raise Venture Capitalism Investment in Delta County Michigan


Delta County Michigan has a lot of underutilized potential and when we engage in pro-business strategies we can draw in more investment and in turn provide more jobs to our children so they don't have to move somewhere else. While I don't believe in hard and fast rules I can say that I like to look at some of the research literature in the formation of a more formal opinion to incorporate into a theory I'm working on to increase innovative growth. Investment in existing and start-up businesses is hugely important and having an online community for Delta County Investments may be one idea that works. 

Investors, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists rely on information. Building and designing websites that seek highlight local businesses looking for investment capital because of their growth potential is a viable strategy. The other method may be to create investment online forums where this information is not only present but investors, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists and local stakeholders may be able to interact to make investment and policy awareness. 

This is done through what is called a virtual community. It may be a discussion forum where people can post questions, ask ideas, set up plans, get information on zoning, and much more. Such an forum will help investors and venture capitalists find information on important businesses and interact with participating entrepreneurs that need access to investment and low interest loans. It also serves the secondary function of keeping local policy makers aware of what investors need and in turn investors what policy makers need. 

We can look at a study conducted on a sample of 215 members of the investment community and how online forums can help (Shang, Chen & Chen, 2013). They state, "Compared with other decisions, financial investments should be more rational, and investors need to acquire immediate and accurate information for their investments." We could provide them with that information in a way that leads to increased in active local investment.

Thus an online forum and virtual community is about information, dialogue, and development. It provides the right information at the right time for decision making purposes. They also found that members in this community had higher confidence in trading and in turn trade more frequently. More frequency means that more dollars are being spent to develop local business (i.e. could Upper Hand Brewery go national? kind of ideas).

Why do members in online investment communities trade and invest more frequently?

1. One primary reason is the availability of information and the ability to ask questions of business owners, government stakeholders and other investors. In economics investment is part of choice and based on the rational decision making when and if information is available. Thus, providing access to a Delta County investment forum community helps them gain information they need to make decisions. 

2. Putting together the business owners, city leaders (Escanaba and Gladstone) and Delta County officials in the same forum as investors increases source credibility. Investors need to perceive the information as believable, competent and trustworthy (Petty and Cacioppo, 1986). No other place to do this then to get the sources involved when investment capital is significant.

3. Third we will want to consider that highly successful investors can often create herd investing (Shang, Chen & Chen, 2013). When an venture capitalist is successful he/she will draw in other investors and they will follow that person's lead. The entire group begins to invest more and in multiple mechanisms.

So as I think through this it appears that an investment community for Delta County could be used to attract, market to and reach out to potential investors. It would also draw in local businesses that have potential growth and in turn better align government policy to the needs of the business community. I bet one could to the same for civil issues and quality of life concerns but that is a different type of venue. 

Thus far here are a few ideas that have been generated (Thinking out loud). This is theoretical play but some ideas may be good for implementation either here or other locations.
  1. Redesign sites to include information that attracts investors
  2. Develop a cluster system to enhance local industries (Focus on investors in those clusters).
  3. Create welcome packets for entrepreneurs and reach out to other locations for to help people buy local properties.
  4. Find someone to coordinate all of these activities and help businesses get through to start up
  5. Hedge our natural resources to attract tourism, investment, and tourist micro manufacturing.
  6. Utilize our deep port, rail, roads and central location to attract distribution. 
  7. A lot more Theory of Transactional Clusters

Petty, R.E. and Cacioppo, J.T. ( 1986 ),Communication and Persuasion: Central and Peripheral Routes to Attitude Change , Springer-Verlag, New York, NY .

Shang, R., Chen, Y. & Chen, C. (2013) The social and objective value of information in virtual investment communities. Bradford, (37) 4. DOI:10.1108/OIR-06-2011-0087

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