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2017 Government–Business Forum on Small Business Capital Formation Opening Remarks

Commissioner Kara M. Stein

Nov. 30, 2017

Good morning.  Welcome to the SEC’s annual Government–Business Forum on Small Business Capital Formation.  I would like to start by thanking Chairman Clayton for his decision to hold this annual forum outside the Capital Beltway and in Austin, Texas.  I would also like to thank Sebastian Gomez Abero, Anthony Barone and the entire SEC team who worked hard to bring this forum to Texas.  Most importantly, I would like to thank the University of Texas–Austin and the MacCombs School of Business for hosting us.

This is the 36th year the SEC has held this forum.[1]  It is meant to be a way for the public to engage with the Commission on issues that are impacting small businesses and capital formation.  In other words, what issues are currently affecting small companies and the investors who support those companies?  Hearing firsthand from many of you about small business capital formation, both the opportunities and the challenges, provides us with invaluable input as we think about how to improve things going forward. 

That is why I am so pleased that this year’s forum is being held here at the University of Texas–Austin, not far from “Silicon Hills,” one of the preeminent environments for startups and other small businesses in Texas.  Just yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with an Austin-based incubator—the Capital Factory—and a few of its member companies to discuss capital formation from their perspectives.  I also was able to speak with a member of the Austin Tech Alliance to discuss the organization’s recent efforts regarding “tech-forward” policies.

In many ways, greater Austin and its multitude of small businesses represent the future of both our economy and our capital markets.  That’s why it is so important to hear from you about our recent and proposed policy actions. 

As most of you know, a company’s capital raising is not an event that occurs in isolation.  The company is part of a larger capital raising ecosystem.  That ecosystem is inhabited by other companies, investors, and a multitude of service providers. 

Many of the Commission’s efforts or rules are designed to facilitate trust between these market participants—the small businesses seeking to raise capital, the investors who wish to support their growth, and their service providers. 

Part of our thinking needs to take into account the diversity of companies and their investors.[2]  How can we help small business owners in different parts of the country to meaningfully provide input on the policies that may directly affect them?  How can small businesses in different parts of the country effectively understand the options they have to raise capital?  How can investors in different parts of the country participate in the growth of these small businesses with a sense of security?

Today’s forum is focused on hearing from diverse voices outside the confines of Washington, D.C.  We need to continue to hear the views of those outside the Capital Beltway, where the cars that cost the most money, and have the loudest horns, are often the most prized. 

I hope that this is a trend that continues, because outreach is critical to understanding how to help our capital markets continue to be the deepest and most vibrant in the world.[3]  

During today’s event, I encourage everyone to consider making recommendations that encourage the confidence of small companies in our markets.  I also urge everyone to consider recommendations that would enhance the trust of investors.  When investors are protected, their willingness to invest increases, which positively impacts the overall funding environment for our small and emerging businesses. 

Thank you, and I look forward to today’s forum.


[1] The forum was established pursuant to the Small Business Investment Incentive Act of 1980. 

[2] See 2016 Government-Business Forum on Small Business Capital Formation Opening Remarks, Commissioner Kara M. Stein (Nov. 17, 2016), available at (discussing data that suggested the geographic concentration of users of some of the Commission’s recent regulations and asking how we can make sure small business owners across the country are aware of these tools).  See also U.S. Securities-Based Crowdfunding under Title III of the JOBS Act, Vladimir Ivanov & Anzhela Knyazeva (Feb. 28, 2017), available at

[3] See, e.g., SEC Launches Nationwide Search to Hire Agency’s First-Ever “Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation,” Chairman Jay Clayton, Commissioner Kara M. Stein & Commissioner Michael S. Piwowar, available at

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