Local Entrepreneur Leads 'Crowdfunding' Initiative

Ian Schuster, president of Schubros Brewery, is the head of the Initial Crowd Offering Group that is rallying Congress to bring a new form of funding to small businesses.


In addition to starting his own company, Schubros Brewery, San Ramon resident Ian Schuster is also leading a group of small business leaders and entrepreneurs to bring in a new form of financing for local startups.

The idea is called "crowdfunding" — which would allow new small businesses to sell equity to a broad shareholder base via the Internet.

Supporters argue crowdfunding provides entrepreneurs and small business owners the green light to engage the middle class and their local communities as investors, which they say is a massive, yet previously prohibited, capital alternative to angel investors, venture capitalists and banks. They also say that crowdfunding gives small investors the opportunity to “get in on the ground floor” and support local commerce.

The U.S House of Representatives agrees, with legislation already passing with overwhelming bipartisan support. The senate is expected to take up the bill soon, according to a press release.

Schuster, who heads the newly formed Initial Crowd Offering Group (ICO) which is rallying support of the legislation, says the main concern opponents have is fraud. The worry is someone could set up an attractive website and con investors.

Schuster says the solution is to take advantage of resources from the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) and the Small Business Administration (SBA).

“The SBA holds the solution to safeguarding the crowdfunding process,” Schuster said. “As an entrepreneur, I want crowdfunding to pass of course, but I’m just as worried about fraud as are the bill's detractors. But we have resources already in place to address that issue — take SCORE, for instance, with 364 offices and over 13,000 volunteers, who don’t receive a dime of tax-payer money. It can provide low-cost, face-to-face validation of a company’s legitimacy along with the voice of reason to save or dissuade the overambitious entrepreneur."

The ICO Group is planning to make presentations in SBA and SCORE offices throughout California in March and April to discuss the advantages of crowdfunding.

You can read a full story on Schuster's company, Schubros Brewery, .

Information from this article was provided by a public relations company affiliated with Schubros Brewery.

Patty Hoyt March 14, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Good luck with this! It's an innovative idea.
Anne Cavazos March 14, 2012 at 09:21 PM
You go Ian! I hope to see you in business here in San Ramon soon!
Maurice Lopes March 15, 2012 at 03:44 AM
wo..wo... hold your horses... while we all agree Crowdfunding is inevitable and will bring great resources to all small businesses and startups like "Schubros Brewery" the last thing we need is the SBA or SCORE to involved, do you realize that the bills that are being presented have one thing in common "Intermediary" (a SEC registered crowdfunding platform, for listings), this is the ANTI-FRAUD tool. take a look at crowdcube in the UK this is what america needs a dozen platforms like crowdcube. Maurice Lopes - http://EarlyShares.com
Maurice Lopes March 15, 2012 at 03:47 AM
I'm curious if Schuster is so pro SBA, why havent you been able to get an SBA loan? probably because the SBA program doesn't wrk for todays economy unless your buying a owner-occupied building putting down 25%
Kand Johnson March 05, 2014 at 12:28 PM
Reasonably the solution for discouraging fraud by utilizing face to face contact is a little unrealistic simply because people that have fraudulent motives are extremely clever in the ability to hide their intents that are not sincere. In any case the face to face would be helpful if the interviewers are intuitive in asking the right questions and discerning the intent. Conclusively, Old school know how is needed when all else fails.


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