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August 23, 2016

Blue Hill Co-op steps up to the plate as first Fund-ME business

The Blue Hill Co-op is the first business to use Fund-ME, Maine’s crowdfunding law, as it looks to raise money for the construction of a new, larger storefront in the Hancock County town.

As Mainebiz reported in February, like the popular crowdfunding site Kickstarter, Fund-ME lets businesses raise cash from a large number of people. However, it keeps the size of the offering at not more than $1 million in 12 months, and the amount one person can invest to $5,000 in 12 months, except for accredited investors. It also allows a business to promise participants a potential financial return.

Fund-ME, which took effect in 2015, also restricts sales of equity or debt to state residents in most cases, whereas Kickstarter allows most for-profit businesses, regardless of location, to raise money. Fund-Me also requires more documentation from businesses, including an offering circular with a detailed business plan, part of the prior year's financial statements and a discussion of risks.

"The Blue Hill Co-op is excited to be able to offer investment opportunities to all our Maine-resident owners using Fund-ME," Tom Reeves, relocation manager of the co-op, said in a statement. "As a cooperative business, one of our core principles is owner economic participation. Fund-ME will allow our 1,500 owners to have the chance to help the co-op grow as a business, bettering the economy of the Blue Hill Peninsula."

Fund-ME’s first crowdfunding comes just three months after the federal government enacted its own crowdfunding law in May, giving companies yet another option to raise money.

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