Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina's new commerce secretary wants to allow small investors to help fund in-state entrepreneurs through crowd-funding.
"We have hundreds of thousands of entrepreneurs in this state, and crowd-funding is a mechanism by which small entrepreneurs can go raise $1 million to $2 million easily without all of the bureaucratic morass of traditional securities laws," Commerce Secretary John Skvarla said shortly after attending an economic forecast forum put on Monday by the North Carolina Chamber and North Carolina Bankers Association.
Such systems, he said, typically work by allowing smaller investors to put $1,000 a piece into a project without the formalities normally required with stock transactions.
A similar bill was much debated but ultimately failed to pass the legislature during the 2014 General Assembly. Despite backing in both the House and the Senate, it became tangled in an end-of-session tit-for-tat between Republican leaders in either chamber.
Rep. Tom Murry, R-Wake, the bill's primary proponent, did not win reelection in November.
Skvarla said crowd-funding would allow small investors to help from home-grown ventures much more quickly. The biggest problems for most entrepreneurs, he said, is access to the capital needed either to start up or begin work on a new project in earnest.
"This crowd-funding is something we need to have as a standalone bill to get signed early in the session. Let's unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of everybody who is out there wanting to start everything from a sporting goods company to a biotech company," Skvarla said.
Lawmakers return to work Jan. 14 for one day and then begin the bulk of their legislative session two weeks later.