2020 Forum Welcome Message
The theme of this year’s Forum is “Access to Capital: More Critical Now Than Ever.” Our team in the Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation[ii] is immersed in addressing the challenges that 2020 has brought to small businesses and their investors. Small businesses are currently in a state of crisis, with many abruptly shutting their doors this spring in response to COVID-19.[iii] While Congress has provided relief through several legislative measures, the consensus among many is that public assistance will not be enough. Effective pathways for investors to support small businesses’ capital needs are more critical now than ever to help businesses weather the current environment, to rebuild, and to continue to create the companies we depend on for the future. The Commission’s recent temporary crowdfunding relief[iv] is one example of how your feedback has been put into action. We need your input on what you think is needed to support our capital markets, both short-term and long-term.
In addition, as we look to dismantle longstanding racial inequality in our country, the opportunities afforded by entrepreneurship and capital investment can create powerful bridges across social and economic barriers. Our Office is focused on identifying and addressing the capital raising challenges faced by minority-owned and women-owned small businesses and their investors.[v] While entrepreneurship is by no means a panacea to the myriad of challenges with which we are grappling, I look forward to hearing your ideas to improve the capital raising toolkit to work well for all.
In closing, thank you to our speakers for your thought leadership, to our participants for committing time to use your voice to shape Congress and the Commission’s path ahead, to our advisory planning group for providing valued feedback to shape this program, and to the incredible team here at the SEC who collaborated to make this year’s Forum a success.[vi] I am grateful for your contributions, and I look forward to learning from your unique perspectives.
Martha Legg Miller
Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation
[iii] For more information on resources available for small businesses navigating COVID-19 challenges, visit https://www.sec.gov/page/covid-19-resources-small-businesses.
[v] For data and information compiled by our Office on capital raising across demographic groups, see FY2019 Annual Report of the SEC’s Office of the Advocate for Small Business Capital Formation, available at https://www.sec.gov/files/2019_OASB_Annual%20Report.pdf.
[vi] I want to especially thank the team who made this year’s Forum a success, including Colin A. Caleb, Julie Zelman Davis, Jessica W. McKinney, Jenny Riegel, Malika Sullivan, and Todd VanLaere from our Office, as well as Nick Bain from our Office of Information Technology for leading our live technology efforts, and the talented team in our Office of Public Affairs who supported converting this longstanding in-person event into a completely virtual experience. While we are all far apart, I am grateful to each of these colleagues’ commitment to making this event more impactful than ever.
Modified: June 18, 2020