MONTPELIER, Vt. (2/16/16)--The environment for entrepreneurs in Vermont just became even more welcoming with the new partnership between VSECU and equity crowdfunder Milk Money L3C.
“This is exactly the type of collaboration that makes Vermont a very special place to grow a business or an idea. With a community by your side who believes investing locally is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do, Vermonters are tackling economic and social challenges head on in the most creative ways,” said Gov. Peter Shumlin during last week’s announcement.
Milk Money signifies the first official initiative of VSECU’s vision to leverage its scale, capacity and cooperative principles to foster social, environmental and financial prosperity statewide.
Vermont entrepreneurs can post fundraising campaigns on www.MilkMoneyVT.com to solicit equity or debt investments from any Vermont resident. Such investments were restricted to accredited investors--individuals with $200,000 annual income or net worth more than $1 million excluding their home--until regulatory changes in 2014.
The partnership includes an equity investment in Milk Money through the Montpelier-based wholly owned, independently operated subsidiary, Vermont Heritage Financial Group. The launch capital supports Milk Money in building of its crowdfunding platform and entrepreneurial support services, increasing local investment opportunities for Vermonters and growing small business statewide.
Janice Shade and Louisa Schibli founded Milk Money in February 2015 to take advantage of “invest local” opportunities from the Vermont Small Business Offering regulatory changes that went into effect in July 2014. Schibli said Milk Money was founded to drive local investment, give entrepreneurs access to local capital and strengthen Vermont’s local economy. “Our new relationship with VSECU accelerates our ability and capacity to meet those goals,” she added.
“Credit unions were the original peer-to-peer lenders, and with Milk Money’s focus on supporting local investment at the individual level, it was a natural fit,” said Rob Miller, VSECU president/CEO. “One of the most significant ways we improve the lives of our members--and all Vermonters--is to help strengthen Vermont’s economy. This investment supports those efforts by fostering a healthy, locally grown entrepreneurial ecosystem, connecting Vermonters with Vermont business and growing the Made in Vermont brand.”