Monday, September 14th, 2015
Last week, I announced a USDA grant to the Oregon nonprofit Hatch Innovation, Inc. that will help kickstart small business growth in Eastern Oregon communities by connecting rural and small businesses with local, small-dollar investors — also known as crowdfunding.
Crowdfunding has tremendous potential to help drive our local and small business economy. Instead of relying on traditional loans or angel investors, businesses can raise capital from small-dollar investors, often members of their local community, who in turn each get to own shares in the business and receive a return on their investment if the business does well.
With this grant, Hatch Innovation’s “InvestOR Ready Accelerator program” will be able to directly assist small, emerging and growing rural businesses in Baker, Wallowa and Union, while also training local economic development professionals to help businesses and investors make sound investment decisions.
But crowdfunding will never realize its full potential to boost our small businesses without a national system that isn’t limited by state lines.
I wrote the bipartisan CROWDFUND Act, which Congress passed in 2012. Since then, however, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has stalled on finalizing the rules to create a national crowdfunding market.
It is unacceptable that the SEC has failed to finalize the national crowdfunding rules that Congress envisioned.
Grants like the one I announced last week are helping Oregon lead the way in supporting crowdfunding opportunities for local businesses, but we need to make it easier for Oregon small businesses and entrepreneurs to raise money from customers and fans, whatever state they reside in.
I look forward to seeing more development from crowdfunding in Oregon and I encourage the SEC to finalize national crowdfunding rules for all states.
All my best,