It is important to focus on the organizational structure of the entity that will take an active role in this evaluation process. The process requires a commitment of time and resources. After selecting the development consultant, one experienced, as our company, a point of contact should be established. One word of caution: several states have strict banking and securities laws that regulate the raising of money. Even “passing the hat” to collect start-up funding may be legally interpreted as a violation of securities laws. An initial step in this process of forming an evaluation committee should be to check with state banking and securities officials to determine the laws that govern the process.
Once a steering committee of interested parties has been organized, the group may want to take steps to create public awareness of the proposed project. This step can be accomplished through a variety of means.
Media announcements of public information meetings, news letters, newspaper articles and ther low-cost or no-cost announcements can be utilized. The response to this informational solicitation can help gauge interest in the project, thereby expanding the pool of people who may be able to assist the effort. A public information meeting can often be enhanced by presentations about ethanol plant development opportunities. This information can be general in nature and can come entirely from an overview generated by the steering committee. The meeting can also be expanded to include a presentation by someone affiliated with ethanol production or parties experienced in this process. The steering committee will be well served to be certain of the applied experience and credentials of parties represented as having experience with ethanol project development.
After a public meeting or a determination of interest in the process of evaluating ethanol production opportunities, the steering committee may wish to consider a variety of factors. Following are factors that represent many of the basic considerations during the initial assessment of ethanol plant viability.