Your Name: Candace Klein

Business Name: SoMoLend, a crowdfunding platform for small business loans

Type of Business: Crowdfunding

Business Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Reason for starting
After I was laid off from my law firm in 2009 due to the recession, I set up my own law practice, and all of my clients (women-owned businesses) came with me. They started to reveal how difficult it was for them to gain access to funding. So, I started researching alternative forms of lending. I realized that my clients needed more than money, they needed education. I started Bad Girl Ventures, a non-profit microlending and educational program focused on women-owned startups. BGV has educated over 300 businesses, loaned $190,000 and facilitated over $1 million dollars in funding and created over 150 jobs throughout Ohio. I launched SoMoLend because I wanted to find financing for the remaining companies who applied for BGV. SoMoLend is a debt-based online crowdfunding platform that connects business borrowers seeking loans with lenders in their own community looking to make return on investment.

How do you define success?
Both of my businesses (BGV and SoMoLend) support entrepreneurs by providing capital and education, so it goes without saying that I consider every business owner who has secured funding, customers, or financial prosperity a success and we celebrate every one of them.

Biggest Success
My greatest success to date is the fact that I’ve been able to keep two companies alive in a down economic market – and not only that, but companies which actually focus on increasing capital for women and small business owners. It’s a work in progress, but successful all the same.

What is your top challenge and how have you addressed it?
My greatest professional challenge occurred with a former boss. When I approached him about what I was doing with my business initiatives, he said I was violating federal securities laws; my response to that was simply, “Wrong answer.” There were three ways of responding to this allegation: the worst being (A) nothing and basically a lazy lawyer, (B) say there are loopholes and we will work through them or (C) change the law. I chose option (C). He laughed at me as I set out to travel to Washington, D.C. and work with Congressman McHenry and Senator Merkley to draft the JOBS Act, advocate it and have it signed into law. I stand here today having written 38 words in that legislation and chairing the industry. Who’s laughing now?