Published March 11th, 2014
(Re-posted here with consent)
When Sarah McGowan Dear made a career shift from doing social work to working for herself, she learned some valuable lessons. Among them were that she would never qualify for a small business loan, and that developing relationships within her community was the best way to build her business. So, she kept building community.
“I continued to connect people” she explains, “[to] build sharing networks among civic groups, and work to bring people together to leverage social capital rather than give in to the antiquated paradigm of market competition and distrustful secrecy.”
One of the ways she connected people was through the Arroyo Seco Network of Time Banks (ASNTB) in Los Angeles. Through this work she saw how many small businesses were emerging as a result of skillshares and exchanges within the network. As project developer, McGowan Dear researched ways of “matching untapped resources with unmet community needs.” Part of this research involved a trip to the New Economy Institute in Massachusetts. It was on this trip, she says, that “the collective light bulb went off” for herself and ASNTB co-founders Janine Christiano and Autumn Rooney, and the idea for a loan fund for the time bank was born.