Across the US, more and more people are beginning to understand the power of investing. From the rise of crypto to the online brigade of Redditors who took down a hedge fund, even smaller investors are realizing the power of their dollar. And nowhere is this more evident than in Washington, DC, where a community is banding their investment power together to rebuild their city.
Behind a partnership with Mayor Muriel Bowser and SMBX, DC investors are showing their support by investing directly in the small businesses that shape the city. After losing over 2,300 businesses in the downtown area alone since 2020, the city has begun to bounce back. Everyday residents have invested over $1,000,000 in beloved DC businesses such as El Tamarindo, Maketto, Arepa Zone, Trini Vybez, Lucky Buns, Sticky Fingers Sweets & Eats, and more.
Keeping Wealth in DC, with Interest.
The ultimate advantage of this program is that for investors, the money comes right back into their pockets with interest. Thanks to SMBX’s new investment product known as Small Business Bonds™, every dollar invested is returned with principal and interest, paid back monthly for a set period of time. For example, someone who invested $1,000 into Maketto will earn $1,202.28, because the interest rate was set at 7.5% and the return period is 60 months.
“Local businesses represent the dreams of DC residents and are the backbone of our city’s economy,” said Mayor Bowser. “[SMBX] is one more way we can work together to create jobs and opportunity in all eight wards, support our favorite small and local businesses, and uplift entrepreneurs who are invested in our people, culture, and neighborhoods.”
Focusing on Minority-Owned and Women-Owned Businesses.
In their partnership with SMBX, the city of DC placed particular emphasis on businesses owned by minorities and women. Traditionally, these are the businesses most likely to be rejected for loans. “With Mayor Bowser’s focus on historically disadvantaged businesses in Wards 5, 7, and 8, we are leveling the playing field so that entrepreneurs and their workers can reach their full potential,” said Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development John Falcicchio.
According to SMBX CEO and co-founder Ben Lozano, this program is a major step forward in his mission for the company. “We want to help local entrepreneurs advance their goals and aspirations in a community-minded, community-led fashion,” said Lozano. “By turning neighborhood fans into active investors in their favorite businesses, we’re creating a financial system that benefits everyone in the community and helps keep the cycle of wealth and prosperity local.”
Invest Where Your Heart Is.
As investing becomes an increasingly popular activity and discussion topic, the choices that investors have are growing as well. In Washington, DC, everyone from first-time investors to finance experts are weighing the financial risks and rewards of different traditional and alternative investment channels. But one factor that many analysts fail to consider is the impact of generosity and community.
At heart, investors’ motivations go beyond material gain. Many folks simply want to see their money put to good use, whether that’s helping a small business rebuild their storefront or creating more jobs for local workers. As the operator of El Tamarindo Ana Reyes put it: “Our partnership [with SMBX] allowed us to see how important neighborhood staples are to communities. Through these investments, we saw how connected our customers were to El Tamarindo, but also that the larger community felt the same way.”