Business

Crowdfunding rules offered by SEC for public comment

Valley View Farm in Topsfield this year used Kickstarter to expand its cheese business.
Valley View Farm in Topsfield this year used Kickstarter to expand its cheese business.Credit: Suzanne Kreiter/Globe staff /File

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Start-ups and small businesses could soon sell ownership stakes in their companies by soliciting investors over the Internet under a proposal advanced by the Securities and Exchange Commission to implement a 2012 crowdfunding law.

The plan would set rules for equity crowdfunding, which lawmakers said would spur economic growth by easing financing for start-ups and small companies when they mandated it in the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act.

The SEC voted 5 to 0 Wednesday to seek public comment on the proposed rules.

Businesses too small or risky to attract funding from banks or venture capitalists are expected to use equity crowdfunding. Regulators say they tried to address concerns that such fund-raising will invite fraud.

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