Learn how to implement crowdfunding and use the MILE Act to raise capital

At the Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities in Sturgis Ingrid Ault and Jeff Aronoff are discussing how to use crowdfunding and the MILE Act to raise capital for small businesses and communities.

Michigan State University Extension has been involved in helping small business entrepreneurs grow their businesses for many years. The Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities (CEC) program was created to help entrepreneurs accomplish this by educating not only individuals, but community leaders as well. Topics include various tools and resources available. 

The Lower Peninsula edition of the fourth annual Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference  will be conducted in downtown Sturgis on Oct. 21 and 22, 2015. It is an opportunity to join with other like-minded attendees to become familiar with resources, share best practices and ideas, and empower entrepreneurs to grow their local economies.

Ingrid Ault, Calhoun County Michigan State University Extension Community Development Educator and Jeff Aronoff Founder of Sidewalk Ventures will be presenting at the conference. Their session topic is titled: “Crowdfunding: Raising Capital for Small Businesses and Small Projects.” Participants will learn how to implement this new crowdfunding tool to raise capital for small businesses and community projects.

Ingrid Ault will share details of a new Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) grant using crowdfunding. The focus will be on donations from individuals and corporations to raise capital for local economic development projects located in downtowns. Examples of recent projects that have been funded in the last year will be shared along with tips about how to develop a successful project. This grant option is a way to fund projects using a 100 percent match from funds from MEDC with local monies raised by individual and corporate donors.

Jeff Aronoff will discuss the MILE Act (Michigan Investing Locally Exemption). He will explain how the recent legislative changes have made it easier for small businesses to raise capital from the local community. Jeff founded Sidewalk Ventures based upon the belief that strong local businesses should have access to new forms of capital to help them grow. This will also give local businesses an opportunity to build deeper connections to their customers, neighbors and communities. The MILE Act helps to level the playing field for small business owners by allowing entrepreneur’s access to the local community to fund their business ventures through investing in entrepreneur’s ideas and innovation. Jeff will share local success stories as part of his presentation. 

Other breakout sessions will provide you with the opportunity to learn about and experience tips and tools, best practices and success stories for fostering entrepreneurship in your community. These sessions are located in shops and venues throughout the downtown, providing a unique close up look at the local entrepreneurial community in Sturgis. 

People who might find this conference of interest include business owners, government representatives, chamber members, service providers, and economic development practitioners, who share a passion for making their community more conducive to entrepreneurial growth.

The cost to attend is $85 and includes two Keynote speakers, 20+ breakout sessions, two lunches and a networking dinner event. This year’s keynote speakers are Gene Harrison, President of VCI, Inc. and Paul Smith, President of Great Lakes Chocolate & Coffee Co.

For complete information and a full listing of breakout sessions for the Connecting Entrepreneurial Communities Conference in Sturgis, please visit the web page or view the flyer.

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