Connie Lawson talks about Business One Stop, crowdfunding for startups [Kokomo Tribune, Ind. :: ]
(Kokomo Tribune (IN) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) Aug. 16--TIPTON -- Secretary of State Connie Lawson wants to help prospective business owners navigate the regulatory portions of starting a business, and make it easier for them to gather start-up money.
Lawson spoke to current and prospective business owners Friday in Tipton about the ins and outs of the Business One Stop portal and Internet crowdfunding.
Lawson spoke of past conversations with prospective business owners who have had trouble coordinating all of the processes required by government agencies to get a business off the ground.
The Business One Stop is aimed at making that simpler, giving business owners a single place to register their business, as well as all the licensing, permitting and reporting required to keep the company square with the state.
Lawson said a vendor has been awarded a contract, and will be in the secretary's office next week working to get Business One Stop up and going.
"I'm very excited about that, and there's a great deal of enthusiasm among business owners because it is going to cut some red tape," Lawson said. "It's going to cut time that businesses need, or even the attorneys that do the work for them. It makes good government sense, and it makes good business sense as well."
Lawson added it will take between 12 and 18 months to get the first segment of Business One Stop up and going. In its early stages, it'll cover the registering processes with the Secretary of State, the Department of Revenue and the Department of Workforce Development. Once those are operating well together, Lawson said, other agencies will be involved.
Lawson then turned her attention to crowdfunding, a program specific to state businesses and investors that makes it legal for Hoosier entrepreneurs to raise funds from Hoosier investors over the Internet.
With the program, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to raise up to $2 million in capital.
To participate, business owners must be registered with the Secretary of State's office and pay a $100 fee. Owners must have a disclosure concerning the type of business investors are buying into, and a business plan and escrow agreement must be filed along with the registration forms.
For investors, any Indiana resident may invest up to $5,000 in participating homegrown businesses. Those investors may cancel any time up to 48 hours before the investment offer is finalized.
Website hosts will be registered to handle the process for a $100 filing fee. The hosts will facilitate communication between investors and entrepreneurs, and will also be required to keep records for five years. It's an attempt to regulate the process and keep scams at a minimum.
Indiana is one of three states allowing this type of intrastate Internet crowdfunding, along with Michigan and Wisconsin.
"The easiest way to think of crowdfunding is you can reach the crowd through the power of the Internet," Lawson said. "... It allows Hoosier businesses to reach a type of investor they've not been able to reach before if they're not a publicly-traded business, and as we know, most start-ups aren't publicly traded. So this allows them to reach the non-accredited investor."
For more information, visit the Secretary of State's website, www.in.gov/sos/investinindiana.
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