Senate passes Tester bill to help small businesses raise capital, create jobs

Bipartisan measure allows new companies to expand faster, cuts paperwork

(U.S. SENATE) – The Senate today passed Senator Jon Tester’s bipartisan bill to help small businesses raise much-needed capital to grow, innovate, and create more jobs.

Tester’s bill, introduced with Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), allows companies to sell up to $50 million in shares without filing lengthy paperwork. 

“Startup businesses need access to capital so they can create jobs and focus on breakthroughs in science and technology,” said Tester, chairman of the Senate Economic Policy Subcommittee of the Senate Banking Committee. “This bill improves and streamlines the ability for companies to raise money and allows small businesses to do what they do best: innovate and create jobs.”

Tester and Toomey introduced their Small Company Capital Formation Act in September. The bill changes the Securities and Exchange Commission rule known as “Regulation A.”

Currently, businesses can only raise $5 million under Regulation A – a limit that many businesses consider insufficient and has not been updated for 20 years. Thanks to Tester’s bill, Montana entrepreneurs will now be able to raise more capital, expand their businesses, and create more jobs.

Tester’s bill passed the Senate today as part of a bipartisan package of bills designed to help small businesses. The overall package passed by a margin of 73 to 26. The measure now goes back to the House of Representatives.

Tester told his Senate colleagues on Wednesday that Montana small business owners tell him about the need for better access to capital more than any other issue.

“Montana small businesses vary from family farms and ranches to innovative biotech companies,” Tester said on the Senate floor. “If the money is there, so is the expansion. So is the capacity to do more research and development, and so is the next great idea.”

Tester’s bill also adds additional provisions designed to increase transparency and improve investor protections.

Small businesses across Montana support Tester’s Regulation A bill, including Microbion in Bozeman, in Harlowton and Bozeman, Davidson Companies in Great Falls, and TerraEchos in Missoula.

Montana businesses supporting Tester’s bill:

  •  “Microbion deeply appreciates the changes to Regulation A that Senator Tester is seeking through the Small Company Capital Formation Act because it makes perfect sense for energizing the economy and small businesses across America. With the potential to raise up to $50 million through this proposed approach, Microbion will immediately consider using the revised Regulation A to raise capital. This will allow us to continue to create jobs in Bozeman, growing the economy and advancing our technology through innovation.” – Dr. Brett Baker, President and CEO of Microbion Corporation, Bozeman, Mont.  
  • " and Ticket River fully support Sen. Tester's emerging growth companies legislation. As a fast growing technology company, we need more capital to invest and grow even faster. Sen. Tester's legislation will enable us to access public markets and continue our growth." – Lance Trebesch, CEO and President of, Harlowton and Bozeman, Mont.


  • "The expanded shareholder part of the bill means that Davidson will be able to continue rewarding our employees while staying independent. This is a common-sense bill that will help us remain a strong, privately-held company and we appreciate Senator Tester’s leadership in helping all Montana companies access the resources they need to grow, create jobs and provide opportunities for the next generation.” – Bill Johnstone, Chairman and CEO of Davidson Companies, Great Falls, Mont.


  • “At a time when start-ups need increased access to capital in order to grow and hire, this bill will give companies like TerraEchos more financing options. This is a great bill that will kick-start the market for IPOs and help companies like ours expand and strengthen Montana’s economy.” – Alex Philp, Founder and CEO of TerraEchos, Missoula, Mont.

Video of Tester’s floor speech is available online HERE.