VSECU announces support of Milk Money L3C to foster local entrepreneurship and small business
Partnership marks the first initiative under VSECU’s newly launched vision, focused on maximizing the credit union’s social, environmental and financial impact throughout Vermont
MONTPELIER, VT (February 11, 2016) — VSECU, a credit union for everybody in Vermont, today announced a partnership with Vermont-based equity crowdfunding company Milk Money L3C, designed to empower entrepreneurialism and drive local business development.
“This is exactly the type of collaboration that makes Vermont a very special place to grow a business or an idea. With a community by your side who believes investing locally is not only the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do, Vermonters are tackling economic and social challenges head on in the most creative ways,” said Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin. “Thank you to Milk Money and VSECU who have created such a partnership to support Vermont small businesses and local entrepreneurs in a big way,” he added.
The partnership includes an equity investment in Milk Money through VSECU’s wholly owned, independently operated subsidiary, Vermont Heritage Financial Group (VHFG), and signifies the first official initiative as part of VSECU’s new vision, also unveiled today. Under this new vision VSECU will leverage its scale, capacity and cooperative principles to foster social, environmental and financial prosperity throughout Vermont.
“Our mission has long been to improve the lives of all Vermonters, and our new vision is really a renewed focus on that mission in a very literal sense,” said Rob Miller, CEO of VSECU. “With our large scale and reach across the state, we are in a very unique position to bring people together and empower the possibilities to help tackle some of Vermont’s economic and social challenges. Fostering positive social and economic change enhances the communities in which our members live, creating a real impact on our members outside of our financial products, and that’s our ultimate goal.”
Milk Money was founded by Janice Shade and Louisa Schibli in February 2015, to take advantage of the “invest local” opportunities offered by the Vermont Small Business Offering (VSBO) regulatory changes that went into effect in July 2014. Vermont entrepreneurs can post fundraising campaigns on www.MilkMoneyVT.com to solicit equity/debt investments from any Vermont resident. Prior to VSBO, such investment opportunities were available only to accredited investors, who are individuals with $200,000 annual income and/or net worth over $1 million excluding their home.
Schibli and Shade will continue to serve as managing members of Milk Money, managing day-to-day operations for the company. The infusion of launch capital will provide the startup with greater resources to grow its crowdfunding platform and entrepreneurial support services, increasing local investment opportunities for Vermonters and growing small business throughout the state. VSECU members will also benefit from the relationship through increased access to investment and entrepreneurial educational programs, as part of this new partnership.
“Janice and I founded Milk Money to help drive local investment, giving entrepreneurs access to local capital and strengthening Vermont’s local economy, and our new relationship with VSECU accelerates our ability and capacity to meet those goals,” said Schibli. “We are thrilled to not only have VSECU’s support and encouragement, but to also benefit from its scale and reach to make more Vermonters aware of local investment opportunities and how they can make an impact in their communities.”
“Credit unions were the original peer-to-peer lenders, and with Milk Money’s focus on supporting local investment at the individual level, it was a natural fit,” said Miller. “One of the most significant ways we improve the lives of our members – and all Vermonters – is to help strengthen Vermont’s economy. This investment supports those efforts by fostering a healthy, locally-grown entrepreneurial ecosystem, connecting Vermonters with Vermont business and growing the Made in Vermont brand.”
VSECU is a member-owned cooperative and not for profit credit union for everybody who lives or works in Vermont, offering a full range of affordable financial products and services to its member-owners. VSECU is committed to improving the lives of Vermonters by empowering possibilities for greater social, environmental, and financial prosperity. For more information about VSECU, call 802/800 371-5162 or visit www.vsecu.com.