Raising money is difficult for any entrepreneur, but veteran-owned small businesses in particular tend to struggle with capital raising. A new program in North Carolina aims to help.
INVESTinNC, a Wilmington, NC-based crowdfunding education company, has launched an investment crowdfunding program specifically for veteran entrepreneurs. The company is recruiting six veteran entrepreneurs looking to raise at least $250,000 to take part in a cohort-style program where they will create their offering documents, launch, and market their investment crowdfunding offerings at the same time. The deadline to apply is November 15.
The Veterans 6-Pack program, as it is called, is the first of a suite of programs designed to help underserved entrepreneurs such as veterans, women, and minorities gain access to capital, says Seth Jacobsen, VP of Sales and Marketing for INVESTinNC’s parent company LogicBay, a sales and marketing software provider.
INVESTinNC sees a unique opportunity to help veteran entrepreneurs. North Carolina is home to the third-largest population of active duty military personnel in the United States, and roughly 8% of the state’s population are veterans. And in April 2017, North Carolina’s intrastate crowdfunding exemption, dubbed the NC PACES Act, went into effect, opening up a new path for raising capital. The law enables qualifying entrepreneurs to raise up to $2 million from state residents in a 12-month period.
“While it’s true that all entrepreneurs statistically find it hard to raise capital, veterans in particular have unique challenges. As a veteran entrepreneur myself, I’ve lived through those challenges,” says John Panaccione, LogicBay founder and CEO, who served for six years on active duty as a U.S. Army officer and cofounded VetToCEO, a nonprofit that provides entrepreneurial training. “Crowdfunding offers a new and unique opportunity for veterans to actually tap into the support they have for each other in whole new ways by leveraging the veteran community and those that support it to raise capital.”
The Veterans 6-Pack Program offers a variety of benefits for Veteran small business owners in North Carolina, such as targeted marketing efforts to those looking to support veteran entrepreneurs, the ability to set their own terms for the capital being raised, and reduced program fees associated with the crowdfunding campaign. In addition, LogicBay partner Cardinal Crowdfund Solutions will provide offering preparation consulting services for Veterans 6-Pack participants at a reduced rate. INVESTinNC has also partnered with veterans service providers, such as NCVetBiz, to promote the program. The program itself costs $10,000, staggered over four payments.
The cohort program will culminate with campaigns being launched in February or March of 2019. The offerings will be hosted on FundingStack, a soon-to-launch crowdfunding portal created by LogicBay that was the first in the state to be approved by North Carolina regulators.
INVESTinNC has three businesses signed up to participate in the Veterans 6-Pack program, and is seeking three more to join them by the November 15 application deadline.