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New marketplace open for business

ANOTHER marketplace has been created for small and medium-sized enterprise equity.

The Small Enterprise Public Offfering market is a member-based market allowing SMEs to raise capital by allotting equity.

SME owners can conduct secondary sales by transfer.

It is a restricted issuer and seller market.

SEPO market director of membership and training Tony Puls said he had worked with the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for more than 12 years to set up the market.

“We go beyond being a matching service,” Mr Puls said.

He said small to medium-sized enterprise owners had to understand share certificates held value.

“We want to teach SMEs how to use shares,” Mr Puls said.

“The market is like a corporate kindergarten. It teaches small business owners how to run their company as a public company and about corporate accountability.

“It will help make these companies Australian Stock Exchange ready.”

Mr Puls said SEPO market members would act for companies that wanted to raise capital.

He aims to have 300 SEPO market members around Australia and has nine. In WA the SEPO member is Healy Pynt partner Stephen Pynt.

Those members put together “anonymous” offers.

Mr Puls said an anonymous offer was not deemed to be an offer under law.

“If investors are interested in the offer, we pull back the curtain and show them the details,” he said.

A Class Order Compliant Offer document is then prepared.

Mr Puls said such a market was essential for commercialising many of the ideas formed by Australia’s small businesses.

The market also provides an exit mechanism for investors by allowing a secondary sale through SEPO members.

Small Business Development Corporation managing director George Etrelezis said equity funding and trading was difficult for small businesses.

He said it was traditionally the realm of medium-sized and larger businesses.

Mr Etrelezis said the SBDC would monitor the SEPO’s progress before promoting it.

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