Governor McAuliffe signs crowdfunding bill in Roanoke

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Governor McAuliffe signs crowdfunding bill in Roanoke (Image 1)

ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - Governor Terry McAuliffe came to the Grandin CoLab in Roanoke Thursday to help one of his favorite groups, entrepreneurs.

The governor signed a crowdfunding bill into law. The new legislation allows Virginians to invest in local businesses, up to $10,000 per person, without going through the federal government. Each businesses will be allowed to accept up to $2 million.

"You don't have to go through all of the regulatory filings, you don't have to be an accredited investor," McAuliffe said. "I personally believe it will open up millions of dollars for small business entrepreneurs to be able to access capital."

The new law comes as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continues to develop rules for crowdfunding.

The Virginia bill was co-sponsored by Sen. John Edwards (D-Roanoke), which the governor said is one reason he chose to ceremonially sign it in the Star City.

For entrepreneurs like Jeff Turner, it was an opportunity to present his idea.

The owner of Son of a Hitch Hammocks, Turner designs hammocks that attach to trucks and ATV's. Thursday, he came to the Roanoke Star Tank Kickoff to hone his pitch to potential investors. This fall, he will have an opportunity to speak to dozens of potential investors during Star Tank's annual event.

But Turner had another goal in mind.

"If I can get the governor just to lay on my hammock right there it would be something," he said. "I think the governor would really like it."

The plan worked. After signing the crowdfunding bill into law, Governor McAuliffe took seat next to Turner on his hitched hammock.

"Do you want to buy one?" Turner asked the governor.

"I don't know but get up, I want to feel it laying down," McAuliffe said with a smile.

Turner knows he may not be a future investor, but he hopes the governor's interest could lead to more potential customers.

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