Earlier this month, Crowdfund Insider had the fortune to participate in ComCap 2017 in Monterey, California. The event focused on an incredibly important sector of alternative finance – local crowdfunding. Providing access to capital for local entrepreneurs while empowering communities to be able to fund these SMEs is a global phenomenon with deep grass roots.
ComCap is the brainchild of Amy Pearl, who also is the founder and Executive Director of Hatch Innovation, a nonprofit social enterprise. Its mission is to enable citizens to launch enterprises that improve communities. Pearl has also created the National Coalition for Community Capital (NC3) – an advocacy group launched to boost the emerging crowdinvesting ecosystem by working with policymakers at both the state and federal level while supporting the wider public with education and assistance.
We asked Pear for some feedback following the 2nd annual ComCap event. Pearl said that ComCap17 exceeded all their expectations;
“We had packed rooms, beautiful weather, great speakers, and cutting edge expertise. We sold out, and even on our last day the workshops and working groups were packed, helping folks dig in. The impact on the region will be very positive, and new ideas and strategies are moving across the country.”
Looking forward as to next steps, Pearl stated;
“Hatch Innovation will hand off ComCap Conference and the Podcast to the National Coalition for Community Capital (NC3) and ComCap18 will either be in Michigan or Vermont. We had seven states invite us to host it in their state, so we are developing new programs to offer up.”
Much of the ComCap agenda was dedicated towards education, information and what is available now regarding tools to help businesses raise funding. Approximately, 36 states have enacted intrastate crowdfunding laws designed to allow small companies to sell securities and raise money within state boundaries. Frequently, these rules can be an improvement over federal regulations to crowdfund money online, yet anecdotal information indicates these rules are lightly utilized.
The Federal securities rules that allow for crowdfunding are still in their early days of evolution. Reg CF or retail crowdfunding has successfully funded over $44 million, just a drop in the financial bucket. Accredited crowdfundingg (Reg D 506c) and Reg A+ may be doing a bit better.
Promotion of these emerging options for entrepreneurs building companies is an uphill climb. It will take time, but with organizations like NC3 leading the charge there is only one direction things will go. And that is up.
Small business and entrepreneurship is absolutely vital to the economy. SMEs are the engine of economic growth and the single largest creator of jobs and wealth. Helping small businesses to become successful is an important objective for policymakers and society as whole. NC3 and events like ComCap are vital variables for boosting awareness of crowdfunding and helping SMEs accomplish their goals.
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See some photographs from ComCap17 below.