Crowd WallStreet becomes the first Black-owned crowdfunding platform in Wisconsin

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The first Black-owned crowdfunding platform in Wisconsin has ties to Beloit. Shanta Lana Hereford of Beloit is managing partner for the new platform.

Crowd WallStreet Wisconsin is a subsidiary of Crowd WallStreet, Inc. and is the fastest-growing Black-owned crowdfunding platform in the nation. Two of the co-founders, Jamsky French and Tavaris Williams, said they formed the new company to help educate and guide minorities and help bridge the racial wealth gap. However, the platform is open to anyone in Wisconsin.

“It’s a way people can raise money through the community versus big time investors. It’s more inclusive,” Williams said.

French and Williams explained how Blacks account for 13.5% of the U.S. population, but only receive 1% of all venture capital funding. They are also two times less likely to receive a business loan, leaving many Black founders with very few options for financing their businesses.

Fortunately, in April 2012, a new law was passed by the Obama administration. This new law made it easier for qualified entrepreneurs to raise money for their businesses.

The JOBS Act (Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act) encouraged the funding of small businesses. It lowered reporting and disclosure requirements for companies with less than $1 billion in revenue, allowing advertising of securities, and allowing companies to access social capital from crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding has become very popular since The JOBS Act began. Individuals, companies, and nonprofit organizations use crowdfunding to raise money for projects, events, businesses and social causes.

One of those states with an intrastate crowdfunding law is Wisconsin.

Wisconsin’s intrastate law allows qualified Wisconsin businesses to raise up to $2 million on a registered “internet site” from Wisconsin residents only.

“It’s a way to boost Wisconsin’s business economy by allowing Wisconsin residents to invest in Wisconsin businesses,” Hereford said.

Until now, there were only two active, registered internet sites operating in Wisconsin. However, on July 28, 2021, Crowd WallStreet became the third active internet site and the first Black-owned crowdfunding platform in Wisconsin.

The co-founders explained how many private companies, such as Facebook or Lyft, were able to raise money from venture capital, private investors and equity. It leaves the average person with little opportunity to invest and minority and women entrepreneurs with little chance to raise funds.

“Anybody can be an investor. It’s for everyone,” Williams said.

Crowd WallStreet has a collection of companies and entrepreneurs seeking to raise money including those with delivery and dating apps as well as restaurants and technology companies.

“We help them raise capital to take business to the next level,” Williams said.

Soon Crowd Wall Street will be available to anyone in the nation once its Security Exchange Commission registration is complete.

For those new to crowdfunding, the platform has Crowd WallStreet University to get an education of crowdfunding, risks and investing.

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