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Crowdfund Montana offers business investing to the masses

by Lake County Leader
| October 24, 2021 3:00 PM

A new investment platform, Crowdfund Montana, has launched to enable Montana businesses to raise investment capital directly from the general public. Public investment helps entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses “free from the control of traditional financial gatekeepers,” according to organizers. An Oct. 20 online launch and Q&A event introduced attendees to the platform and its first investment offerings.

The Missoula-based nonprofit Pacific Northwest Rural Broadband Alliance, which is building locally owned and operated fast broadband network cooperatives to connect rural communities, is the first investment offering on the new platform. The alliance expects to begin building a local, user-owned internet cooperative network in Lake County later this year, spearheaded by Mission West Community Development Partners in Ronan and a volunteer steering committee.

Crowdfund Mainstreet, a nationwide investment crowdfunding portal, collaborated with the Missoula-based Center for Community Ownership to create Crowdfund Montana, an investment crowdfunding portal specific to this state. Montana businesses and organizations can post offerings that anyone can invest in, regardless of their wealth or income levels, at crowdfundmontana.com.

Investment crowdfunding is similar to traditional crowdfunding such as Kickstarter or GoFundMe, where many people come together to fund projects. Investment crowdfunding differs in that it allows the funders to receive a financial return on their contribution, and in some cases own shares in the companies they are funding. Investment crowdfunding is a true investment, not just a donation.

Crowdfund Montana will make investment crowdfunding more available to Montana businesses, said Andrew Connor, director of the Center for Community Ownership.

“Access to start-up and growth capital is a major obstacle for entrepreneurs, especially in the aftermath of the pandemic. Crowdfund Montana will help our businesses thrive and it creates a wealth-building opportunity for people who would rather invest in Montana than in Wall Street.”

Crowdfund Mainstreet saw tremendous potential in creating a platform specifically for the purposes of funding Montana businesses.

“We are a values-driven company that seeks out community-oriented and mission-aligned companies to support,” said Crowdfund Mainstreet founder and CEO Michelle Thimesch. “Montana has such a strong sense of pride and place that we thought it was the perfect opportunity to cultivate a community of people who want to invest in local businesses,”

Crowdfund Montana has posted its first investment offerings at crowdfundmontana.com.