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

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 percent of the U.S. population but only receive 1 percent 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.