A few years ago, Chris Schaefer, a retired organization development consultant, asked his financial advisor about investing locally. When the advisor came up empty-handed, a friend told Schaefer about local investing opportunity networks (LIONs), which connect individual investors with local businesses that need loans.

Soon, Schaefer and two others launched the Berkshire-Columbia Investment Network (BCIN), named for Schaefer’s home county in Massachusetts and the adjacent county in New York State.

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