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Tagged with "alternative financing"
Crowd Investing for Underserved Communities of Color
Category: GENERAL
Tags: crowdinvesting bill huston underserved communities president obama 2012 job acts alternative financing

Crowd Investing For Underserved Communities of Color


Crowd Investing for Underserved Communities of Color

Bill Huston
CMO & Crowdinvesting Consultant at FundWest Louisvile, LLC

Introduction to Alternative Finance

Business owners are acutely aware that most small businesses, small scale real estate developers, and startups struggle to get access to capital and underserved communities of color receive extremely small amounts of funding from traditional funding sources. So, instead of protesting and complaining maybe small businesses and small-scale real estate developers should begin to implement different methods of alternative capital deployment. We are going to talk about different types of investment alternatives that are on the cutting edge of new capital formation for underserved and communities of color.

Local Investment Clubs

A traditional investment club is a small group of individual investors who come together to learn, share investing experiences, and help each other become more successful investors. Clubs provide education, camaraderie and buying power, plus the confidence of knowing you don’t have to go it alone. Clubs can also choose not to pool investment dollars and instead simply come together to discuss investment ideas and analysis.

The Crowd Investing Twist

Local crowd investment clubs will have a focus on investing in local businesses and local small scale real estate development in underserved communities using crowd investing to allow the club members the ultimate reward derived from local crowd investing to be owner, customer and brand advocate all at the same time. Again this is a way to build local wealth and create in underserved communities.

Impact Investing from Corporate and Philanthropic Foundations

Local place-based impact investments make a lot of sense for foundations because the benefits that locavesting bring to both the investor and the community where they live can be immense. So, let’s take the next logical step and examine why more philanthropic and corporate foundations should look to the local market to make impact investments along with a small percentage of their endowments that they use to make grants. This really makes sense with the new Opportunity Zone legislation and the ability to run crowd investing offers side-by-side to provide a pathway for inclusive investing from zone residents.

Poverty and Inclusive Investment

So many of the problems and issues that plague inner-city communities are poverty based and many of them stem from government policies such as redlining and urban renewal. If foundations change their relationships to these communities from charity and began the process of providing location-based impact investment into these communities coupled with crowd investing as an inclusive investment option to fund local businesses, small scale real estate development, and wealth building initiatives based on market principles many of the poverty-based issues could be addressed.


Crowd investing is the truly revolutionary centerpiece of the JOBS Act of 2012. It became legal on May 16th, 2016. Crowd investing provides a platform for small scale real estate developers and small companies to raise money from the general public—wealthy, not wealthy, friend or stranger—as long as the investment takes place on a web site operated by a traditional broker-dealer or an S.E.C.-sanctioned crowdfunding portal, and certain other requirements are met the process is simple and straightforward. There are many protections built into the process by the SEC and FINRA to protect investors.

The Rules Exist

Specifically, the law allows companies to raise up to $1 million in a 12-month period from the public. Investors are capped at the greater of $2,000 or 5% of their income if their annual income or net worth is less than $100,000. The final rules also impose a limit on how much those with an income or net worth greater than $100,000 can make: they are limited to $10,000 per year or 10% of their income or net worth.

Alternative Finance

There are many new and emerging forms of alternative finance that provide the democratization of capital in underserved communities of color. Many of the communities find themselves isolated in urban centers and are areas of concentrated poverty. These areas of concentrated poverty tend to be places that lack hope and many residents become trapped in the despair and hopelessness of the environment. But just like policy created these communities. Policy and the commitment of investors, developers, and entrepreneurs can transform these communities using market principles.  

Understanding Crowd Investing

Securing capital for businesses and real estate development in underserved communities of color has always been a very daunting task and in some cases, it has been flatly denied by government policy such as “Redlining”. Since the “Great Recession,” it has been increasingly difficult for small businesses and small scale real estate developers to secure finance through traditional channels. As a result, more and more businesses are turning to crowd investing to raise the necessary funds.

Online investors have been quick to respond to the growing number of investment opportunities and offer and, as a result, crowd investing is growing by leaps and bounds. The process has been slower in communities of color for a number of reasons, but has a mission to provide the needed education to position communities to take full advantage of this President Obama era law.  

Join Us

If you want to learn more about community capital and crowd investing’s ability to create change in your community, business venture, or small scale real estate development come over to and learn how to make this information actionable for you and your community





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