Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

October 24, 2013

SEC approves crowdfunding plan

(Continued)

But under the law enacted last year, businesses would be able to offer investors a piece of the company for the first time. Fundraising over the Internet could be a pathway to getting in early on the next big trend. Experts warn that nearly 55 percent of startups fail within five years.

Still, the latest iteration of crowdfunding could help those startups that failed to attract attention from venture capitalists. Supporters say this kind of investment crowdfunding could create jobs and boost economic growth in overlooked areas of the country, such as the Midwest.

New businesses there don’t have access to pools of capital provided by Wall Street or Silicon Valley, says Robert Hoskins, who does public relations and marketing for crowdfunding ventures.

“It’s going to save America’s butt,” he said.

But investor advocates and other critics express concern that this new arena of investing could be a breeding ground for fraud.

While many companies are started by entrepreneurs with good intentions, “there could be some sharks out there as well,” said William Beatty, the director of securities in Washington state. “I hope a lot of people don’t get hurt,” he said in a telephone interview.

SEC Commissioner Luis Aguilar said unscrupulous operators could use investment crowdfunding to prey on “vulnerable segments of society.” The system could enable “affinity fraud,” he said, with promoters appealing to members of ethnic or religious groups to which they portray themselves as belonging.

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Three Goshen elementary schools — Chandler, Chamberlain and West Goshen — are providing free meals to all students during the school year as part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Community Eligibility Provision of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010. Nearly 80 percent of students at Chandler, 89 percent of students at Chamberlain and 78 percent of students at West Goshen already qualify for free or reduced-price lunches based on their family income. How do you feel about the new lunch program?

I think it’s a good idea to feed all the students free of charge
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