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Milwaukee Beekeeper One of Nine Entrepreneurs Vying for Slow Money

Investors will meet with local sustainable farms and food enterprises on Friday, thanks to Slow Money Wisconsin.

The group selected nine food-related start-ups pitch their business plans. Milwaukee native Charlie Koenen is one of the nine and hopes to raise funds for his business BeePods.

The entrepreneur's take on the event is that Slow Money Wisconsin "brings together socially minded investors who aren't necessarily interested in an immediate return on investment; they want it long-term, but they're more concerned about how it helps the world."

Koenen admits when he started his own hive about a decade ago, he wasn't thinking of the world. He was just fascinated by bees.

"And then what I found when I got deeper into beekeeping, it became a mission for more people to have that enlightening experience and to do it right," Koenen says. "Now it's gone to the next level by saying how can we collect and share data."

Koenen wants to focus on school-age children. "I want to sell it to schools so that children grow up understanding bees," he says.

Koenen envisions schools become the BeePod hub in the community. "We can maybe give them a perk every time they sell a hive, the school gets some money," Koenen says.

Koenen and the other showcased entrepreneurs will each be given 10 minutes to pitch their vision.

The other businesses featured in the Slow Money showcase are:
* Badger Kraut & Pickle
* Blue Vista Farm of Bayfield, Inc.
* Bryant Family Farms
* JRS Country Acres
* MobCraft Beer LLC
* poSaNa Organics
* Simply Native Foods LLC
* Underground Food Collective

Last year’s showcase – the first ever – resulted in more than $400,000 worth of investments.

Susan is WUWM's environmental reporter.<br/>