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.
Resources for Finding Funding
Bank of America, in partnership with Seneca Women, announced the launch of the Bank of America Access to Capital Directory. This first-of-its-kind platform is a resource to help educate women-owned businesses in the U.S. on navigating the capital landscape and identifying potential sources of funding, such as equity, debt and grant capital.
From a grant to jazz up your online storefront to a loan to help you stock up on inventory, the Small Business Funding Center connects you with the capital you need to launch and grow your small business. The juggle is real for hard-working entrepreneurs like you, so you can bank on easy applications and personalized recommendations here.
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
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.
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 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
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
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
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
Fellowships from 4.0 Schools are designed to help business owners who have an idea to improve education in the United States. Your business idea could be a school, technology tool, retail product, or service. Business owners who are just testing the waters on their idea can get mini-grants of $600, and businesses that are further along are eligible for $10,000. The application cycle closes every September.
While not a traditional grant program, 37 Angels can be a great funding solution for startups looking for investment. While they don’t only invest in women-owned businesses, 37 Angels is actively trying to close the gender gap in startup investing. According to their website, about one-third of their portfolio is women founders. After submitting an application through their website, you may have the opportunity to pitch their network of investors (an event that happens every two months). You’ll receive a funding decision in four weeks and can receive an investment of up to $200,000. In addition to funds, 37 Angels also provides education and ongoing support.
A Little HOPE, Inc. is a not-for-profit publicly supported charitable foundation, recognized by the IRS under 501 (c)(3), which grants funds to organizations that provide bereavement support services and grief counseling to children, teens and young adults, who have experienced the death of a parent, sibling or loved one, regardless of the circumstances of the death.
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.
Backstage Capital provides support to startup founders through programs and grants. Applicants must identify as women, people of color and/or LGBTQ+ members and be affiliates with a for-profit stage company.
Grant opportunities are available to help black women founders develop their businesses. Cash grants of $5,000 and $10,000 for business financing are available to promote economic development for black women or nonbinary entrepreneurs. Those who receive grants also will “receive tactical help navigating the fundraising environment … and have a more equitable opportunity at scaling the next billion-dollar idea.”
The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award is awarded once a year to 21 female entrepreneurs around the world. The Cartier award grant is intended for women business owners in the early stages of development of their business (between one to three years old). The business should be generating revenue, but need not be profitable. The top seven finalists will win $100,000 and one-to-one business mentoring from an expert that Cartier finds for you. The remaining 14 applicants will win a $30,000 prize. Each of the 21 small business grant award finalists will receive a spot in the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Six-Day Executive Program (ISEP), as well as the opportunity to participate in entrepreneurship workshops, business coaching seminars, and networking opportunities.
The Coalition to Back Black Businesses is a multiyear grantmaking and training initiative. It helps black-owned small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to $5,000 in grants will be awarded each fall through 2023.
Stitch Fix aims to promote a more diverse retail landscape by supporting entrepreneurs of color who are building the next wave of apparel and accessories businesses.
We aim to support our grantees with the insights and feedback to help them grow their businesses. We will present six (6) grantees with the following:
- A $25,000 cash grant to support business expenses.
- Ongoing support from our Algorithms and Buying teams to leverage data insights to understand and improve the product-market fit of their designs with potential clients, including detailed reports built with the aid of Stitch Fix’s data science tools.
- Individual monthly product-to-market advisory support via video conference over the duration of the program based on the grantee’s expressed support interests.
- One call with Stitch Fix Founder, Katrina Lake and/or Stitch Fix CEO, Elizabeth Spaulding during the course of the program.
- One call with our external program advisor, Harlem’s Fashion Row Founder and CEO, Brandice Daniel, during the course of the program.
- Amplification through our marketing channels to highlight each grantee to our community.
- At the end of the program, we will place wholesale orders for grantee’s merchandise to be sold on the Stitch Fix platform.
- Access to our partner, SPS Commerce’s Lift Program, including a two-year membership that provides complimentary technology products across Fulfillment (EDI), Assortment and Analytics.
Applicants must be:
- An early-stage* majority POC-owned business in the United States that sells Women’s, Men’s or Kid’s apparel, shoes and/or accessories. (“POC” means you identify as Asian, Black, Latinx, American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander.)
- Your business has been operating a minimum of 2 years.
- You are currently selling physical products: apparel, shoes and/or accessories.
- You are generating revenue between $50,000 and $1,000,000 per fiscal year.
DEADLINE TO APPLY: OCT. 31, 2021
Enter for a chance to win a $3,750 Galaxy Grant, brought to you by Hidden Star, a 501(c)(3). Our mission is to help minority and women entrepreneurs succeed. Refer a friend and double your chances of winning with their entry. If they win, YOU BOTH WIN!! Galazy of Stars provides free tools to help businesses succeed. These tools include free website and free hosting, forums that provide a great, safe place to interact with other entrepreneurs; curated educational content and tutorials that will help you grow and improve your business, trusted resources that will provide you with honest, unbiased guidance that you can trust and rely on.
If you’re looking for federally sponsored grants for women, the best place to start is Grants.gov. All government grants are open to male and female business owners, and this site serves as a database of all federal grants—including those specifically available for small business owners. To search for this type of grant, visit the official government grants website and check out their section for grant applicants to see if you’re eligible.
It’s important to note that this database includes a variety of grants, so you may need to sort through different options to find those that are the most relevant to small business owners.
Grants.gov can serve as a great starting point with over a dozen federal government agencies participating in the database.
The Halstead Grant started in 2006 as a small business grant for women entrepreneurs specifically in the jewelry industry. The grant is awarded to emerging jewelry designers in the United States—specifically geared toward businesses under five years old.
Those that apply should be prepared to answer a series of questions about their business goals and strategies. Winners are awarded a $7,500 cash grant, $1,000 toward Halstead jewelry supplies, and publicity within the jewelry industry. The good news is that even those applicants who don’t win will receive general feedback on their business plan from the judges.
The HerRise Micro-Grant provides financial support to women of color who are often unable to secure funding for their small business. Each month a $500 micro-grant will be awarded to a small business owned by women of color. Small business grants are useful for financing a particular small business need. Past recipients used their growth grants for computers, equipment, marketing materials, website creation and more.
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.
The IdeaCafe Grant awards a $1,000 micro-grant to one small business owner each year. The application deadline is in January, so apply early. Although the funding isn’t technically a small business grant for women only, the vast majority of the winners have been female entrepreneurs.
This is a great grant to apply to if you’re a relatively new startup looking for funding. This grant is also available for those that have an idea for a business but haven’t actively started building it yet.
When IFundWomen brokers a grant with a partner, we match the partner’s grant criteria to those businesses who have applied through our Universal Grant Application. If you’re a match, we may request that you apply for that partner’s specific grant program, and you will be notified. Since we launched this program, IFundWomen has secured more than $8M in corporate grants to pay forward to our members (that’s you). So far, we have only deployed around 40% of the grant pool, so there is still a ton of money to go around. If you are interested in being a part of this database, fill this app out.
As part of the First Women campaign, Jane Walker and IFundWomen have teamed up to help create more opportunities for women to achieve their goals. Jane Walker will be funding a total of 30 groundbreaking women-owned businesses through the end of the year. Businesses will be selected across the entertainment and film, music, sports, STEM, journalism, and hospitality industries to receive a $10,000 grant plus a one-year annual coaching membership on IFundWomen. Program Criteria: Business must be located in the United States. Must generate a minimum of $25K in annual revenue. Must have been in business for at least 2 years. Must be a self-identified woman entrepreneur with at least 50% ownership in your business. Must have a product/service in market that falls into one of the following categories: Entertainment & Film, Music, Journalism, Sports, STEM and Hospitality. Must have a groundbreaking women-owned business that is pushing boundaries to create a more vibrant, diverse world!
KKR Small Business Builders has an emphasis on companies that are pivoting their business in response to the pandemic; are operated by historically underrepresented groups (HUGs); and/or are providing important community services. To be eligible, a business must have between 5 and 50 employees, less than $7 million USD in annual revenue, demonstrated need for support, a strong plan for moving forward, and be in good standing with the IRS or their local regulatory body.
Kuvio Creative is a full-service web design and development company that gives back to entrepreneurs who are making a difference by providing them with small business grants and free services. Applications for the Kuvio Impact Grant open three times per year. Grant recipients will receive up to 100 hours of free services, such as web design and marketing, depending on the scope of the project. This program is reserved for nonprofits, women-owned companies, minority-owned businesses, and veteran-owned organizations.
The LGBTQ+ National Chamber of Commerce has announced that $2 million in funding, raised in partnership with GrubHub, will be allocated to grants for struggling LGBTQ+ and ally-owned food establishments nationwide. Now through October 12, 2021, qualifying restaurant owners who demonstrate financial need can apply for NGLCC/GrubHub Community Impact Grant Program funds ranging from $5,000 – $100,000. Grants will be distributed in November, timed with the NGLCC Back To Business Summit.
NIH is the largest public funder of biomedical research in the world, investing more than $32 billion a year to enhance life, and reduce illness and disability? NIH funded research has led to breakthroughs and new treatments, helping people live longer, healthier lives, and building the research foundation that drives discovery.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was founded in 1901 and is now part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. NIST is one of the nation’s oldest physical science laboratories. Congress established the agency to remove a major challenge to U.S. industrial competitiveness at the time—a second-rate measurement infrastructure that lagged behind the capabilities of the United Kingdom, Germany, and other economic rivals. Today, NIST measurements support the smallest of technologies to the largest and most complex of human-made creations—from nanoscale devices so tiny that tens of thousands can fit on the end of a single human hair up to earthquake-resistant skyscrapers and global communication networks.
Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants
The program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. Agricultural producers may also apply for new energy efficient equipment and new system loans for agricultural production and processing.
The Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC), a non-profit community development financial institution, offers financial assistance through grants. Grants are specially targeted to small businesses in under-served communities, including entrepreneurs of color, women, and veterans who own businesses. In all, 900 grants worth a total of $18 million are available.
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are highly competitive programs that encourage domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) with the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR and STTR enable small businesses to explore their technological potential and provide the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated, and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.
Central to the STTR program is the partnership between small businesses and nonprofit research institutions. The STTR program requires the small business to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. STTR’s most important role is to bridge the gap between performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.
In response to the drastic change in the business environment stemming from the pandemic, the City of St. Petersburg has developed a new non-profit and small business incentive package in support of the sustained success of St. Pete’s health, local economy, and cultural landscape. Through this $2,536,000 funding package, the City’s goal is to provide general economic stimulus and ongoing support to businesses overcoming the longstanding impacts of COVID-19 with an emphasis on business retention and resiliency efforts.
The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, also known as America’s Seed Fund, are one of the largest sources of early-stage capital for technology commercialization in the United States. These programs allow US-owned and operated small businesses to engage in federal research and development that has a strong potential for commercialization. NIH’s SBIR and STTR programs invest over 1 billion dollars into health and life science companies that are creating innovative technologies that align with NIH’s mission to improve health and save lives. A key objective is to translate promising technologies to the private sector and enable life-saving innovations to reach consumer markets.
Their mission is to give all kids the lifelong benefits of sport and physical activity by providing equipment, apparel and footwear to those most in need. They create opportunities in sports and physical activity for kids through donations of brand new sports equipment, apparel, and footwear.
*pending CDC health and safety guidelines
Project Entrepreneur, a program by UBS, aims to level the playing field for female founders of color by providing these founders with the resources and support they need to build and scale their companies. The Democratizing the Friends & Family Round program, in partnership with Hello Alice, will award $25,000 grants as well as access to virtual coaching and skill-building opportunities to 30 female founders of color who are leading high-growth companies.
Be a for-profit company
Have at least one woman-identifying founder of color
Have a venture-scalable or venture-viable company
Have a demonstrated need for funds in order to achieve a significant business milestone
DEALINE TO APPLY: NOV. 10, 2021
The USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG) Program provides grants to finance the development of small and emerging businesses in rural areas. The funds can be used for land acquisition, construction, renovation, technical assistance, project planning, and more. The program is a broad based program that reaches to the core of rural development in a number of ways. Eligible entities include: cities, communities, state agencies, and authorities), Indian tribes and rural private non-profit corporations are eligible to apply for funding. At least 51 percent of the outstanding interest in any project must have membership or be owned by U.S. citizens or resident aliens.
Visa Everywhere Initiative is an open innovation program that helps startups like yours unlock new opportunities—and gives you a global platform to demonstrate your ground-breaking solutions. The program first launched in the U.S. in 2015, and has since expanded to every corner of the world, recruiting startups from over 100 countries. Over the past five years, more than 7,000 startups have participated, and they’ve collectively raised more than $2.5 billion in funding.