On November 3rd the US House of Representatives passed, with almost unanimous bipartisan support, the Bill I’ve been working on HR2930, The Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act. It made headlines from the Wall Street Journal to USA Today.
This started less than a year ago when I was out trying to raise capital for a startup idea I had; using smartphones to do instant polling. The idea won the November, 2010 Miami Startup Weekend Challenge. I went out to raise capital but hit the same barrier as most entrepreneurs. There’s no capital. Banks aren’t lending, home equity lines aren’t an option because of fallen home prices, credit card limits were lowered and interest rates skyrocketed, and private money is only for a select few.
Entrepreneurs, ideas, capital, businesses and JOBS – They are all interconnected. Without capital small businesses cannot innovate and hire. The key to getting us out of this recession is to get American’s back to work and this requires job-creating businesses. So rather than bemoan the problem my peers and I went out to solve it.
We decided, given the advances in accountability and transparency due to the Internet and technology, the time was right to update 80-year old security laws so that we could go to our friends, family and community and sell them shares in our businesses via crowdfunding. (This is currently illegal).
From there we built a framework, launched a petition, started blogging and began peddling the solution to influencers in Washington including the media. In less than 6 months:
- I testified at 2 congressional hearings; Testimony one and Testimony two.
- We were consulted by the White House and included in President Obama’s Jobs Act
- We are the force & framework behind HR 2930, the Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act!
- This was publicly endorsed by President Obama, and
- Our bill was almost unanimously approved by a vote of 407 to 17 on the floor of the US House!
But we aren’t done yet. Even though we had such bipartisan support, we we need to keep the pressure on. Hence, we are taking our fight to the Senate. We are holding a HUGE rally on November 17th in Washington, DC to coincide with Global Entrepreneurship Week and an annual, one-day meeting the SEC is having on Small Business Capital formation.
Our goal is to introduce Washington to ‘Joe the Entrepreneur’ and ‘Jill the Innovator,’ explain how they are the job-producing engine of the USA and have a teach-in with our Senators about Crowdfund Investing.
Our solution allows the community to pick and finance only those companies they think are worthy. They will back them not only with money, but also with knowledge, experience and marketing power.
But in order to pull this rally off, we are trying to crowdfund the cost. So feel free to check out our Indiegogo campaign. Feel free to give a buck or two if you’d like. Contact your senator (here) and tell them to introduce and support HR2930. Ask them NOT to play politics with the Bill and attach frivolous amendments that don’t pertain to the bill. Feel free to come to the rally on November 17th and most importantly, feel free to share what we’re doing with those that you think would find it interesting!
All our best!
Woodie, Jason & Zak