The U.S. Small Business Administration has named Frank Knapp Jr. the 2014 South Carolina Small Business Financing Advocate of the Year. Mr. Knapp is the President, CEO and co-founder of the South Carolina Small Business Chamber of Commerce (SCSBCC). The recognition honors an individual who has shown a remarkable commitment to increasing small businesses’ access to capital.
“What is especially noteworthy is Mr. Knapp’s recent introduction of South Carolina’s first crowdfunding platform for donations and investments, which is a completely innovative solution to small business financing needs. With his commitment to our state’s small businesses, he has proven himself to be a major asset to South Carolina’s economy,” said Elliott Cooper, district director of the SBA South Carolina District Office.
Establishing a statewide online crowdfunding platform for donations and investments came about following Mr. Knapp’s efforts since 2010 to work with members of Congress to address the access to capital needs of small businesses due to the Great Recession. The journey has involved organizing a delegation of other national representatives of small businesses to call on Congressional offices, communicating with the U.S. Security and Exchange Commission for policy changes related to small investments, joining several U.S. Senators in a national press conference supporting the creation of a Small Business Lending Fund and working with members of Congress to pass the JOBS Act of 2012 which included provisions for equity crowdfunding. In the latter two efforts Mr. Knapp also represented the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) on which he serves at the Co-Chair of the ASBC Action Fund.
The SCSBCC’s online marketplace portal, SCcrowdfund.com, will add equity crowdfunding (approved in the JOBS Act ) when the Security and Exchange Commission finalizes the needed regulations later this year or early 2015. The portal represents a partnership between the SCSBCC, ASBC and Mission Markets of New York and is on the cutting edge nationally for such efforts.
“We are pleased that some small businesses and nonprofits have already utilized our portal just launched a few months ago for seeking donations for business projects,” said Mr. Knapp. “The accredited investment portal for high net worth individuals is operational but we are holding back the launch while we build out our registered investors.”
“The final exciting component of the portal will be equity fundraising which will throw open the doors to our small businesses being able to seek low-dollar investments from anybody in their communities and across the state,” said Mr. Knapp. These three options for small businesses to access capital through our portal—donation, accredited investment and equity crowdfunding—will give every community in our state the chance to grow their own local economies.”
The SBA will recognize all award winners during the annual Salute to Small Business event on Wednesday, May 7, in Columbia. For more information about the Salute to Small Business, visit http://scsalutetosmallbiz.com.
Anna Huntley, 803-253-3753
Samantha Hunter, 803-252-5733
Frank Knapp, 803-252-5733