Chicago, IL — Meet Elizabeth L. Carter, Esq., founder, and owner of a Black woman-owned securities law firm that has launched a legal fund to support Black businesses that plan to raise capital through crowdfunding campaigns and other means. The Chicago-based firm is seeking corporate and individual contributions to the #BlackCapitalMatters Gift Legal Fund, which will help subsidize securities legal services for Black-owned businesses.
Black-owned entities, including businesses, nonprofits, cooperatives, and investment funds, that are looking to raise capital in 2021-2022, and need affordable securities legal services, can apply for the fund at ELCESQ.com/legalfund (Fund contributors who wish to receive a tax deduction can donate directly to the firm’s fiscal sponsor, the Oakland-based Sustainable Economies Law Center, at TheSELC.org/blackcapitalmatters)
There are a series of legal documents, filings, and other requirements that business owners must complete to ensure they are legally compliant before they launch their campaign. Yet many business owners may not be aware of the legal requirements and therefore put themselves at risk for penalties and costly delays.
Led by Elizabeth L. Carter, the boutique law firm is the only securities firm in the country with a mission to help Black-owned businesses navigate the legal requirements that come with raising capital. The firm often provides its services at discounted rates and has built an ecosystem of comprehensive professional support services to make it more feasible for Black businesses to raise capital. Securities law is a complex area of business law that ensures the legal compliance of raising capital from investors. Unfortunately, this complex law carries a hefty cost and is often out of the budget for the average entrepreneur.
The #BlackCapitalGift Legal Fund will allow the firm to provide legal support at below-market-rate so that more Black-owned businesses may combat the disparities in investing that they often face. Since 2015, Black and Latinx founders have received only 2.4 percent of the total venture capital raised, according to the 2020 Crunchbase Diversity Report. Due to these disparities, more and more Black-owned businesses are turning to crowdfunding to raise the capital that they need to fully launch or expand their business.
“The racial bias in financing from banks and private investors, including angel investors and venture capital firms, has caused many Black-owned businesses to turn to the general public to get the capital that they need for their businesses,” Carter said. “Oftentimes, these businesses don’t have adequate funding to pay for legal support as they launch crowdfunding campaigns. This puts them at risk of criminal and civil penalties at disproportionate rates.”
The economic hardships caused by the recent pandemic and recession have only exacerbated the need for funding among minority-owned businesses. During the first few months of 2020, 41 percent of Black businesses and 32 percent of Latinx-owned businesses permanently closed.
“Our mission is to find creative and innovative ways to counter the unfortunate reality of insufficient business capital that plague so many of our undeserved businesses,” Carter said.