Loans & Grants

FUNDING FOR YOUR BUSINESS

Your business plan will help you figure out how much money you’ll need to start your business. If you don’t have that amount on hand, you’ll need to either raise or borrow the capital. Fortunately, there are more ways than ever to find the capital you need.

Types of Funding

Fund your business yourself with self-funding

Otherwise known as bootstrapping, self-funding lets you leverage your own financial resources to support your business. Self-funding can come in the form of turning to family and friends for capital, using your savings accounts, or even tapping into your 401k. With self-funding, you retain complete control over the business but you also take on all the risk yourself. Be careful not to spend more than you can afford, and be especially careful if you choose to use tap into retirement accounts early. You might face expensive fees or penalties, or damage your ability to retire on time — so you should check with your plan’s administrator and a personal financial advisor first.

Get venture capital from investors

Investors can give you funding to start your business in the form of venture capital investments. Venture capital is normally offered in exchange for an ownership share and active role in the company. Almost all venture capitalists will, at a minimum, want a seat on the board of directors. So be prepared to give up some portion of both control and ownership of your company in exchange for funding. Venture capital differs from traditional financing in a number of important ways. Venture capital typically:

  • Focuses high-growth companies
  • Invests capital in return for equity, rather than debt (it’s not a loan)
  • Takes higher risks in exchange for potential higher returns
  • Has a longer investment horizon than traditional financing

​Use crowdfunding to fund your business

Crowdfunding raises funds for a business from a large number of people, called crowdfunders. Crowdfunders aren’t technically investors, because they don’t receive a share of ownership in the business and don’t expect a financial return on their money. Instead, crowdfunders expect to get a “gift” from your company as thanks for their contribution. Often, that gift is the product you plan to sell or other special perks, like meeting the business owner or getting their name in the credits. This makes crowdfunding a popular option for people who want to produce creative works (like a documentary), or a physical product (like a high-tech cooler). Crowdfunding is also popular because it’s very low risk for business owners. Not only do you get to retain full control of your company, but if your plan fails, you’re typically under no obligation to repay your crowdfunders. Every crowdfunding platform is different, so make sure to read the fine print and understand your full financial and legal obligations.

Get a small business loan

If you want to retain complete control of your business, but don’t have enough funds to start, consider a small business loan. To increase your chances of securing a loan, you should have a business plan, expense sheet, and financial projections for the next five years. These tools will give you an idea of how much you’ll need to ask for, and will help the bank know they’re making a smart choice by giving you a loan. Once you have your materials ready, contact banks and credit unions to request a loan. You’ll want to compare offers to get the best possible terms for your loan.

Apply for a Grant

Various organizations offer grants to help fund your business. Grants do not need to be paid back but there are deliverables that are required by each grant.

SBA Small Business Loans

Standard 7(a) Loan

The 7(a) loan program is the SBA’s primary program for providing financial assistance to small businesses. The terms and conditions, like the guaranty percentage and loan amount, may vary by the type of loan.

7(a) Small Loan

Maximum loan amount $350K with turnaround of 5-10 business days. Interest rate negoiatable

Export Express

The Export Express program provides exporters and lenders a streamlined method to obtain SBA-backed financing for loans and lines of credit up to $500,000. Lenders use their own credit decision process and loan.

SBA Express

Maximum loan $350K. SBA to respond to application within 36 hours. Loans for up to 84 mon

Export Working Capital

Export Working Capital loans are for businesses that can generate export sales and need additional working capital to support these sales. Lenders review and approve applications and submit the request to the U.S.

International Trade

International Trade loans provide long-term financing to businesses that are expanding because of growing export sales, or that have been adversely affected by imports and need to modernize to meet foreign

EIDL

Loans with 30 year maturity and fixed 3.75% for businesses and 2.75% for nonprofits. Collateral required for loans over $25K. Not forgiveable.

SBA CAPLine Loans

 

Contract Loan

The contractor must use loan proceeds only to finance the costs of one or more specific contracts, including overhead or general and administrative expenses, allocable to the specific contract(s). 

Seasonal Line of Credit

Borrowers must use the loan proceeds solely to finance the seasonal increases of accounts receivable and inventory (or in some cases associated increased labor costs). Funds must not be used to maintain activity during

Builders Line

Borrowers must use the loan proceeds solely for direct expenses related to the construction and/or “substantial” renovation costs of a specific eligible project (residential or commercial buildings for resale), including labor, supplies, materials, equipment rental, direct fees (building permits, interim disbursement inspection fees, etc.), utility connections (above or below ground), construction of septic tanks, and landscaping. (“Substantial” means rehabilitation expenses of more than one-third of the purchase price or fair market value at the time of application.) Proceeds paid to a subcontractor can include the subcontractor’s profit. The cost of lad is eligible if the land cost does not exceed 20 percent of the project cost. Up to five percent of the project cost can be allocated for improvements that benefit all properties in a subdivision, such as streets, curbs, sidewalks, or open spaces.

Working Capital Line of Credit

Borrowers must use the loan proceeds for short term working capital/ operating needs. Proceeds must not be used to pay delinquent withholding taxes or similar trust funds (state sales taxes, etc.), or for floorplanning. In

Grants

Rebuild Community-Based Business Grant

Up to $50K for businesses damaged by civil unrest. Damage must have occurred after May 30,2020

Seedfunders

Provides Black community funding and mentoring for pre-revenue technology startups in FL.

Hillsborough County Capital Grant

Hillsborough County has put together a uniform procedure to request county funds for construction projects.  All small businesses who have completed a business plan and require a capital infusion for construction are encouraged to apply.

IFundWomen of Color

Crowdfunding for early stage entrepreneurs.

Amber Grant

Amber Grants began in 1998 in honor of Amber Wigdahl, who died before fulfilling her dreams. Each month we award an Amber Grant of $10,000, and one of our 12 monthly recipients receives an additional $25,000 Amber Grant.

Halstead Grant

Open to US jewelry designers who work primarily in silver, have been in business 3-5 years, and are pursuing jewelry design as a full-time career (not a hobby or part-time job). The grant consists of $7,500 in start-up capital and $1,000 in merchandise as well as recognition in the industry.

Women Who Tech

Open to North America-based, women-owned startups in tech that have already raised $50K in seed revenue or that are already generating revenue.