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
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
SMARTstart Microloan Fund
The Pasco Economic Development Council’s SMARTstart Microloan Fund is available for passionate, small business owners with the solid ideas, good management skills, valid business plan needed for success, but are unable to secure traditional financing.
Proceeds are available to be used for:
- Working Capital
- Machinery and Equipment
Learn more: https://pascoedc.com/microloan-funding
2023-2024 Restaurant Business Development Program Application
The Feed the Soul Foundation’s Restaurant Business Development Grant Program is offering $10,000 grants and six months of business development consulting and training services — a $5,000 value — to marginalized professionals in the culinary industry. The training and consulting includes financial education, marketing and advertising training and business development consulting.
The business must be at least 51% owned by a person who identifies as part of a marginalized community, must be located within the United States and must have been open for at least 24 consecutive months. Recipients must commit to attending two-hour virtual classes with industry experts from May to August 2024 and virtual or in-person meetings with consultants for a set amount of time each week.
Business must be able to provide three years of financial statements, including balance sheet, profit and loss statements, taxes and general ledgers.
Deadline application: April 15, 2024
For more information visit: https://feedthesoul.qualtrics.com/jfe/form
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.
Grant applications are by invitation only and are sent to potential grant recipients during the month of October each year.
For more information visit: https://www.alittlehope.org/article/details/9/applicants
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.
January – Skilled Trades
February – Health, Fitness & Wellness
March – Food & Beverage
April – Sustainability
May – Mental & Emotional Support
June – Business Support Services (e.g. accounting, consulting)
July – Animal Services
August – Hair Care & SkinCare
September – Education & Child Care
October – Creative Arts
November – Technology & E-commerce
December – Fashion Design
Grant Awarded Monthly. Deadline application: Last day each month. ($15.00 fee for each application)
For more information visit: https://ambergrantsforwomen.com/get-an-amber-grant/
Founded by musical artist Pharrell Williams, the Black Ambition Prize is a competition for Black and Hispanic business owners building early-stage ventures in an eligible field. You can compete for awards between $15,000 and $1 million, and winners also get coaching and leadership workshops.
Who qualifies? Black or Hispanic business owners who run a for-profit business in one of the following categories: Consumer products and services Healthcare Media and entertainment Technology Web 3.0 You must be at least 18 years old and have at least two team members. Your business must have raised less than $1 million
Deadline application: May 6, 2024
For more information visit: www.blackambitionprize.com
CCWC Women of Color Entrepreneur Grant
Corporate Counsel Women of Color will award five (5) $5,000.00 Grants to women of color entrepreneurs. The CCWC review committee will review submissions on a rolling basis, and grants will be awarded to winners and finalists in January 2023 and September 2023.
For more information visit: https://form.jotform.com/Laurie_info/5000-grant
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.
For more information visit: https://webackblackbusinesses.com/
DoorDash, in partnership with Hello Alice, has started a Fund to provide grants and resources to local restaurants across the United States and Puerto Rico affected by natural disasters. Small businesses are the center of local economies, yet nearly 40% of small businesses are unable to reopen following a disaster, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Disaster can occur at a moment’s notice and access to capital is crucial to helping a restaurant rebuild their business following a disaster.
Deadline application: March 29, 2024
For more information visit: https://app.helloalice.com/grants/restaurant-disaster-relief-fund-winter-round-2024/apply
Fast Break for Small Business Grants
LegalZoom has partnered with the NBA, the WNBA, and the NBA G League to root for you. Now in its third season, Fast Break for Small Business dedicates $1.5 million in grants and services to existing small business owners and $1.5 million in services to entrepreneurs who need help starting.
Which describes you?
● Small business owner with an entity that’s been formed for at least three months.
● Someone who has always wanted to start a small business
Learn more about Fast Break for Small Business and apply today!
Deadline application: September 13, 2024 at 8 p.m. ET.
For more information visit: https://www.legalzoom.com/fastbreakforsmallbusiness
There will be 10 winners in total with one grand prize recipient receiving a $50,000 grant in the form of a check and the remaining nine recipients each receiving a $20,000 grant in the form of a check. Additional prizes may be available and will be posted to the website and in the Rules as they are finalized.
Existing FedEx customers with a valid shipping account that has been open for at least 6 months, have less than 99 employees, and, who, as of the start of the application period, has been actively shipping with FedEx may apply. Owners and part-time employees are considered employees. All additional eligibility requirements are available in the Official Rules.
Deadline application: April 1, 2024
For more information visit: https://www.fedex.com/en-us/small-business/grants.html
Founders First CDC National Kitty Fund
The Kitty Fund makes small micro investments in Moms who are running employer-based small businesses with two or more employees. The award was created in honor of Mother’s Day and Founder’s First CEO Kim Folsom‘s mother, Catherine “Kitty” Abrams Tadlock Webster, who passed away in March of 2020. In 2020, the fund made its first investments of $13K in 50 Moms running small businesses nationwide. In 2021, the amount increased from $250 to $500 for the 50 recipients.
Pre-registration is open now
For more information visit: https://foundersfirstcdc.org/kitty-fund/?mc_cid=38d44c28db&mc_eid=34f4056519
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.
Deadline application: March 31, 2024
For more information visit: https://galaxyofstars.org/galaxy-grants
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 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. Applications close on the last day of the month. Every applicant needs to create an account and logged in to view and complete the application. There is a $10 administration fee.
Micro-Grant Awarded Monthly
For more information visit: www.hersuitespot.com/herrise/
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.
For more information visit: www.hillsboroughcounty.org/en/businesses/business-community/grants
Hivers and Strivers Investment Program
Pitch program for Veterans
As an angel investment group, Hivers and Strivers works to provide capital to qualifying businesses. Specifically, the investment group funds projects submitted by veteran-owned and veteran-led businesses. Funding opportunities can range from $250,000 to $1 million. Those who qualify can apply for funding for a business idea on a rolling basis, but businesses reliant on government contracts are not eligible to apply
For more information visit: https://hiversandstrivers.com/
Hometown Grant Program
Hometown Grants are intended for “shovel-ready projects”. Information required for your application includes:
• Project plan proposal with a detailed budget and timeline
• Up to 5 letters of support from stakeholders in the community
• Examples of in-kind donation possibilities/additional funding to cover the remainder of the project
• Details on permits needed or already obtained
Applications will be open on a quarterly basis with the following schedule: Spring: Applications open January–March Summer: Applications open April–June Fall: Applications open July–September Winter: Applications open October–December
For more information visit: https://www.t-mobile.com/brand/hometown-grants
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.
For more information visit: www.businessownersideacafe.com/business_grants/
Kinetic Black Business Support Fund Grant
Kinetic Business is proud to support black-owned businesses with the creation of the Black Business Support Fund.
Your business must meet the following requirements to participate in the Black Business Support Fund Grant program:
Deadline application: Until funds last
More information: https://business.windstream.com/bbsf#/
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.
For more information visit: www.kkr.com/grants
L’Oréal’s Inclusive Beauty Fund and Hispanic Federation
L’Oréal’s Inclusive Beauty Fund and Hispanic Federation are partnering to award 20 one-time grants of $10,000 each to expand economic inclusion and empower beauty entrepreneurs across the United States. In addition to one-time funding, L’Oréal is committed to providing grantees with professional mentorship and business development support.
Deadline application: March 29, 2024
For more information visit: www.hispanicfederation.org
ZenBusiness, a company that helps others launch and run their own businesses, has created the #MomsMeanBusiness campaign to recognize the resilience of moms and celebrate their accomplishments. To help mothers take the first step toward entrepreneurship, ZenBusiness is covering business formation costs and will help entrepreneurs form an LCC, track expenses, secure a business name, and more. All mothers are eligible and costs will be covered for “every mom in America.
Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis
For more information visit: https://www.zenbusiness.com/moms/
MBDA Capital Readiness Program Grant Competition
The U.S. Commerce Department’s Minority Business Development Agency is launching a nearly $100 million grant program to support female and minority entrepreneurs. The Capital Readiness Program is directing grants of between $2 million and $3 million to business incubators and accelerators run by companies, nonprofits, and universities. So the funds will not go directly to small businesses from the federal government. But recipients must use the funds to provide services that can help women- and minority-owned startups overcome structural barriers. The program will focus on several high-growth industries, including health care, climate technologies, and infrastructure.
For more information visit: https://www.mbda.gov/mbda-capital-readiness-program-grant-competition
The National Association for the Self Employed (NASE) awards quarterly $4,000 Growth Grants to its members. Membership starts at $12 a month. You have to be a member in order to apply for this grant.
Quarterly Grant. For more information visit: www.nase.org/become-a-member/member-benefits/business-resources/growth-grants
NAACP X L’Oréal Inclusive Beauty Fund (Round 2)
Applicants need to create an account with HelloAlice. L’Oréal’s mission is to create the beauty that moves the world. Critical to this mission is supporting the small businesses who play a key role in helping to deliver beauty products and services to consumers across all backgrounds and lived experiences. In 2021, recognizing that beauty businesses owned by historically excluded and marginalized people were being significantly affected by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic, L’Oréal USA partnered with the NAACP to award 33 grants to beauty entrepreneurs and business owners who had been most acutely impacted. In addition to the grants, L’Oréal provided grantees with professional business development support from its leading beauty brands and its professional beauty products distributor, SalonCentric. Now in 2024, L’Oréal remains committed to leveling the playing field and advancing equitable opportunities in the beauty industry. In collaboration with GlobalGiving, L’Oréal is supporting the NAACP Empowerment Programs by awarding an additional twenty (20) grants of $10,000 each to entrepreneurs in the beauty industry. Applications are open now through March 29, 2024. Preference will be given to entrepreneurs of color.
Deadline application: March 29, 2024
Quarterly Grant. For more information visit: https://cosmeticsbusiness.com/l-oreal-s-black-owned-beauty-business-grant-reopens
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.
For more information visit: https://usafundingapplications.org/v9/
This grant comes from Start.Pivot.Grow, a small business accelerator, tools and funding platform, for any business that aims to grow in 2024. The $2,500 also comes with a digital business growth plan. To be eligible businesses must have existed for at least two years. The winner will be announce during National Small Business Week.
Deadline application: March 31, 2024
For more information visit: www.startpivotgrow.com/grants
The American Dream Awards
Hello Alice is shining a spotlight on small businesses through the American Dream Awards. These accolades are about innovation, heart, and the American spirit. If you nab one, you’ll get $1,000, a spot in a small business accelerator, media exposure, and some other goodies we think you’ll love.
Deadline application: April 30, 2024 at 6:00pm EDT
For more information visit: https://app.helloalice.com/grants/the-american-dream-awards
The Barstool Fund
The Barstool Fund is an ongoing grant program that supports small businesses suffering negative effects due to the pandemic. The program is funded through donations and supported by Barstool Sports. Applications are available online.
For more information visit: https://www.barstoolsports.com/the-barstool-fund
The BGV Pitch Program (Pitch competition)
Hosted by Black Girl Ventures, the BGV Pitch Competition is exclusively for Black or brown female business owners. Through the Raisify platform, audiences are given the opportunity to financially support the founders they believe in. Each founder has three minutes to pitch, followed by a three-minute audience Q&A. Three winners are awarded a first, second and third place prize of a $10,000, $6,000 or $2,000 grant, respectively.
Applications are now being accepted for spring program.
For more information visit: www.blackgirlventures.org/bgv-pitch
The Freed Fellowship Grant
This grant offers a monthly $500 to qualifying business owners in the US. Applicants are evaluated based on a “5C Framework”, which assesses various aspects of applicants’ business. Along with the grant, applicants receive feedback on their business and a two-month free membership in the Freed Studio, a community of ambitious business owners. Grant recipients are also eligible for an end-of-year grant of $2,500. Grant recipients are also eligible to receive an additional end-of-year grant of $2,500. Monthly applications
For more information visit: www.freedfellowship.com
The Halstead Grant
The Halstead Grant is an annual opportunity for emerging silver jewelry entrepreneurs to boost their careers. Applicants answer 15 business questions and submit design portfolios, aiming to win a $7,500 cash grant and other benefits. The application deadline is May 1, 2024.
Deadline application: May 1, 2024
For more information visit: https://grant.halsteadbead.com/
The Papaya Grant
This grant, sponsored by sustainable paper towel brand Papaya Reusables, is offering its own grant in support of Women’s History month. Women-owned small businesses can apply for the grant until March 31, 2024. Applicants will need to talk about their company’s greater mission and how they would use the grant. Applicants are also asked to send in a short video message. Grant amount, up to $10,000
Deadline application: March 31, 2024
For more information visit: https://www.papayareusables.com/pages/grant
You Glow Girl Women Entrepreneur Grant
The You Glow Girl Women Entrepreneur Grant is offered by Eat Me Guilt Free, a line of health food products. Created in 2021, the program supports one female entrepreneur in expanding her business by providing her with a $10,000 grant. Additional prizes include a one-year supply of Eat Me Guilt Free items, mentoring from Cristie Besu, founder and CEO of Eat Me Guilt Free, and a physical health and wellness product.
Wish Local Empowerment Program Grant
Black-owned businesses with no more than 20 employees, a brick-and-mortar location, and less than $1 million in average annual revenue.
Must be a Black-owned business (51%+)
Must possess a liquor license or currently seeking a liquor license
Application deadline: Until funds last
For more information visit: https://naacp.org/grants/backing-the-bar
Working Women of Tampa Bay Foundation
Entrepreneurs who have been in business from 6 months – 3 years. The money is to help female entrepreneurs with a little assistance to grow their business. Entrepreneurs must be able to demonstrate their proof of concept and a plan of how the funds will be used. Businesses must be headquartered in Tampa Bay.
Rolling Applications (no deadline)
For more information visit: https://workingwomenoftampabay.com/WW-Foundation