On November 3rdÂ the US House of Representatives passed, with almost unanimous bipartisan support, the Bill Iâ€™ve been working onÂ HR2930, The Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act.Â It made headlines from theÂ Wall Street JournalÂ toÂ USA Today.
This started less than a year ago when I was out trying to raise capital for a startupÂ ideaÂ I had; using smartphones to do instant polling. Â The idea won the November, 2010 Miami Startup Weekend Challenge.Â I went out to raise capital but hit the same barrier as most entrepreneurs.Â Thereâ€™s no capital.Â 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 â€“ They are all interconnected.Â Without capital small businesses cannot innovate and hire.Â The key to getting us out of this recession is to get Americanâ€™s back to work and this requires job-creating businesses.Â 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 viaÂ crowdfunding.Â (This is currently illegal).
From there we built aÂ framework, launched aÂ petition, startedÂ bloggingÂ and began peddling the solution to influencers in Washington including theÂ media.Â In less than 6 months:
- Â Â Â I testified at 2 congressional hearings; TestimonyÂ oneÂ and TestimonyÂ two.
- Â Â Â We were consulted by the White House and included inÂ President Obamaâ€™s Jobs Act
- Â Â Â We are the force & framework behindÂ HR 2930, the Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act!
- Â Â Â This was publiclyÂ endorsedÂ by President Obama, and
- Â Â Â Our bill was almost unanimously approved by aÂ vote of 407 to 17Â on the floor of the US House!
But we arenâ€™t done yet.Â Even though we had such bipartisan support, we we need to keep the pressure on. Â Hence, we areÂ taking our fight to the Senate. Â We are holding aÂ HUGE rally on November 17thÂ in Washington, DCÂ to coincide withÂ Global Entrepreneurship WeekÂ and an annual, one-day meeting the SEC is having onÂ Small Business Capital formation.
Our goal is to introduce Washington to â€˜Joe the Entrepreneurâ€™ and â€˜Jill the Innovator,â€™ explain how they areÂ the job-producing engine of the USAÂ 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.Â Â 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 areÂ trying to crowdfund the cost.Â So feel free to check out our Indiegogo campaign.Â Feel free to give a buck or two if youâ€™d like. Â Contact your senator (here) and tell them to introduce and support HR2930. Â Ask them NOT to play politics with the Bill and attach frivolous amendments that don’t pertain to the bill. Â Feel free to come to the rally on November 17thÂ and most importantly, feel free to share what weâ€™re doing with those that you think would find it interesting!
All our best!
Woodie, Jason & Zak 🙂