Elizabeth Bergmann spoke with the Bluffton Rotary Club on Wednesday, October 15.  She is the co-founder of Local Money Talks (LMT), a coalition of concerned Beaufort County citizens, and a resident of Port Royal, SC.  LMT’s purpose is to “strengthen the resilience of the local economy of Beaufort, SC by empowering existing businesses and fostering entrepreneurship.”  The group was formed almost a year and a half ago, and includes a diverse group of individuals from both the public and private sectors. 

One concept that Bergmann discussed at length was “slow money,” which encourages consumers and investors to keep money circulating in their local communities.  She encouraged the audience to spend their money in a more deliberate fashion and to consider intentional consumers’ potential impact as a result of choosing to spend a quantity as small as twenty dollars per month at local businesses. 

Local Money Talks is currently in the process of developing a business development program called “The Shrimp Net” through which aspiring entrepreneurs could receive mentorship and assistance prior to launching their businesses. 

The coalition also recently partnered with the Beaufort County Human Services Alliance, the Lowcountry Affordable Housing Coalition, and the Lowcountry Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) Program to host a community engagement luncheon for local bankers.  This event was designed to inform financial institutions in the Lowcountry of potential community reinvestment opportunities, and was attended by representatives of more than five banks.

In the future, Local Money Talks hopes to serve as a resource for individuals with entrepreneurial aspirations, small business owners in need of investment capital, as well as local residents seeking to invest in their neighbors.