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Sterling Heights

Crowd funding info event makes investing local

May 7, 2014

An organization based in Sterling Heights that nurtures local small businesses is inviting investors and the general public to join the crowd.

Velocity in Sterling Heights will hold a lunchtime discussion on Investment Crowd Funding May 9.

According to organizers, a trend toward crowd funding startups began in the state after Michigan’s Public Act  264 was signed into law in 2013. The law lets private, nonaccredited Michigan investors pitch in capital to qualified businesses.

At an April City Council meeting, Sterling Heights City Manager Mark Vanderpool called crowd funding a powerful economic development tool that investors can use to make money while supporting local businesses.

Under the rules, investors can pour as little as $100 or as much as $10,000 into a qualified business, Vanderpool said. In exchange, the investor may get equity share.

“Some of these small companies need to raise a couple hundred thousand to as much as a million dollars,” he said.

Vanderpool said residents will learn the details of crowd funding and how investors can get involved. The discussion will also explain how startup businesses can raise money through the program.

Experts who will discuss the topic include the following:

• The Michigan Municipal League’s Summer Minnick.

• Entrepreneur Kyle DeWitt.

• Angela Barbash from the social impact economy research firm Reconsider.

• Chris Miller, Adrian’s Downtown Development Authority and economic development coordinator.

Two local organizations are presenting the discussion and lunch. The first is the Macomb Area Communities for Regional Opportunities, which was founded in 2011 by Macomb County communities to address fiscal challenges and spark cooperation. The Sterling Heights Regional Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the other major presenter.

Wayne Oehmke, the Sterling Heights Chamber of Commerce’s president and CEO, said the upcoming business event was mentioned at one of his group’s recent meetings, and it received a favorable response. He said he hopes more qualified small businesses will become aware of the crowd funding option.

“A lot of people are unaware of it, and I think out of almost 1,500 members, a lot of them are small businesses, and this would help some folks that would be chamber members,” Oehmke said. “Most people don’t know what it means, but we’re getting the word out there.”

Velocity, 6633 18 Mile Road in Sterling Heights, will host a discussion on Investment Crowd Funding 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. May 9. Admission with lunch is $20. To register, visit

 Learn more by calling (586) 731-5400.

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