Crowdfunding as a source of financing for startups continues to move at a glacial pace in the U.S., and it’s stopped completely for now in North Carolina. But the issue is far from dead in the North Carolina General Assembly.
As WRALTechWire has reported, a number of Triangle-area funds have gotten big boosts from kickstarter campaigns. Crowdfunding could be a boost as well. Alas, not right now.
[Note: The Skinny took some time off and wasn’t around to report about the delay, thus this tardy followup. The importance of this bill to North Carolina’s entrepreneurial community requires an update.]
Despite strong bipartisan support in the House, the N.C. Senate put off consideration of crowdfunding legislation until next year. The bill’s backers plan to keep pushing for passage.
At a website set up for advocacy of House Bill 680 – the Jump Start Our Business Start-ups legislation – the group’s supporters vow to stay in the fight.
“The bad news is that the North Carolina Senate has adjourned for the year without taking up consideration of HB680, the North Carolina Jump Start Our Business Start-ups (NC JOBS) Act of 2013,” the group says.
“Despite excellent support around the state and around the nation for this new type of financing for small business using investment crowdfunding, and despite the fact that the bill passed the North Carolina House by an almost unheard of bipartisan vote of 103 to 1, the North Carolina Senate leadership did not think it was a high enough priority to consider this session. The bill is sitting on the table in the Senate Commerce Committee, along with over 20 other bills that the Senate did not get around to acting on. Perhaps your own NC State Senator can explain to you why a pro-small business, pro-jobs, bipartisan bill that doesn’t cost the taxpayers a single penny and which allows North Carolina residents the opportunity to invest in their own future and economy in a safe and fair way is not a priority.
“The good news is, the bill has now been magically transformed into the NC JOBS Act of 2014. The bill will still be active in the Senate when the North Carolina Legislature convenes next year in what is known as the ‘short session’ beginning in May of 2014. That means we will still be able to implement this opportunity in North Carolina, but it will be delayed by a year.”
Tom Murry, a Republican businessman and House member from Morrisville, is a crucial driving force behind the bill.
Mark Easley, a Triangle entrepreneur, continues to be an outspoken proponent of the legilsation. He took a last shot at getting the Senate to take up the bill in a letter and blog post dated July 20.
“North Carolina needs to grow our economy and create jobs,” he wrote. “The North Carolina Legislature under your leadership has done excellent work this year to improve the business climate through your bold actions in reforming taxes, reforming regulation, and creating a fiscally sound budget, and I commend you for your work in these areas.
“The NC JOBS Act may be the next most important piece of legislation available to help with economic growth and job creation. Startups and small business are the engines of job creation, and this bill will allow many more to get funding than would otherwise happen over the next four years. If everything goes as planned, we will have our supporting regulations in place from the Secretary of State Securities Division and will have our crowdfunding platform partners and legal infrastructure in place before the end of this year. That means we will be able to investment crowdfund NC small business startups throughout 2014 and beyond.”
Easley told Senators that bill backers were prepared to move forward quickly with implementation. Unfortunately, the date of that meeting was TODAY.
“In addition, our team has a meeting with Commerce Secretary Decker and her team on August 12th to begin working on the implementation details so that we can get this program off the ground all across the state as soon as possible,” Easley noted.
Unfortunately, N.C. entrepreneurs will have to wait another year. But no one in the Senate should assume this issue will fade from neglect.
To follow the JOBS Act blog, read it online.