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Abstract

Financial capital is an important component of rural community development and a key aspect of community resilience. Yet residents often transfer their wealth into investment vehicles such as GICs and bonds that are external to their community. This exodus of financial capital is often in contrast to a deep commitment to the local community in which these residents lived and worked for the majority of their lives. With a focus on the Town of Olds, Alberta, this project seeks to understand the possibilities for local financial capital retention for community development. We compare several approaches to capital retention that include the transition towns movement, community currency and community bonds; we explore perspectives from municipal, provincial, and federal levels of government; we seek insights from the representatives of local financial institutions; and we survey residents of the Town of Olds about their views on local investment. Results indicate a willingness to invest locally among residents, with support from town leaders, governments, and financial institutions. Yet several key barriers exist. These barriers include a limited understanding of financial vehicles for local investment (e.g., community bonds) and the availability of other attractive non-local options to secure financial capital (e.g., loans at attractive rates).

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