Just in time for International Women’s Day, local female business owners recently gathered to learn about how their companies can benefit from investment crowdfunding.
Held at the only female-operated brewery in Charlotte, Bold Missy Brewery, John Panaccione of Invest in NC hosted the event. The end goal is to recruit women-owned businesses in Charlotte to take advantage of crowdfunding and the opportunities offered by Invest in NC.
“I’ve traveled the whole state doing this, and Charlotte has so many resources concentrated in this one city,” Panaccione said of the business atmosphere in the city. “It’s a strong vibe you feel everywhere you go, and everybody you meet with has so much energy for entrepreneurship and small business.”
Crowdfunding is when startups raise money by recruiting a significant amount of people to give smaller amounts of capital to their company, as opposed to angel and venture capital funds that invest large sums from one source.
Wanted: Five More Women-owned Companies
Invest in NC’s idea is to sign on six local women-owned companies in what Panaccione calls a “six-pack,” and market them collectively to those looking for investment opportunities in N.C. So far, they’ve signed on one business and are looking for five more in the Charlotte area.
The application deadline is March 31, and if accepted and approved, crowdfunding campaigns will begin this summer. The application form is available here.
Panaccione said that signing on increases visibility and reduces service and portal fees, amongst other benefits.
Invest in NC is the only government-authorized educational program in the state to help businesses pursue investment crowdfunding to reach their financial goals.
Instead of taking pledges for the promise of receiving a product – the model many crowdfunding websites use – Invest in NC’s model takes investments from many different sources up to raise up to $2 million.
Connecting Businesses to Funding Opportunities
Those sources – people or businesses – don’t have to be accredited to invest, but they do have to reside in N.C. Non-accredited investors (those with net-worth less than $100,000) can invest up to $5,000 in a 12-month period. By opening up funding to non-accredited investors, Invest in NC helps connect businesses to new funding opportunities.
This is all made possible by the NC PACES Act passed in 2016, which formally legalized investment crowdfunding in the state.
Panaccione said the six-pack isn’t limited to high-growth startup businesses. Breweries, restaurants and other small-scale companies are welcomed to apply. Invest in NC just requires business ownership and a fool-proof business plan.
Panaccione said this informational event was the tenth one Invest in NC has held in the state.
“It’s always fun to interact with existing small-business owners and entrepreneurs,” he said, “and hear what they’re struggling with and how we might help them with new ways of raising capital.”