The avenues for financing a startup, or even an existing business, have increased exponentially in the last several years.
Here’s a list of twenty possible options for microfinancing. Many of these resources will provide access to financing even to borrowers who have few assets or poor credit, or those who are involved in a high-risk concept.
Microlending for Small Businesses in the US
With micro-lending, funding springs from community-based, nonprofit microfinance organizations. Such programs often favor business owners from disadvantaged communities and those struggling with limited funds or bad credit.
The Small Business Association (SBA) provides direct funding to non-profit, community-based organizations who then provide loans to entrepreneurs and small business owners. The program expanded with the passage of the 2010 Small Business Jobs Act, which means a higher limit for loans, $50,000.
The loans can be used for the purchase of inventory, equipment, supplies, and furniture, the money cannot be used to cover debt or make a real estate purchase.
Accion USA — Accion USA is a microfinance community organization offering small business loans up to $50,000. Interest rates are competitive and the application is free.
Kiva— Kiva operates a peer-to-peer lending portal through which small business owners and entrepreneurs apply for loans by posting their stories. Those interested in investing make donations of $25 or more. The funds are then pooled till the total amount is reached distributed by way of local microfinancing institutions.
Communities at Work Fund –This program offers loans to Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) funds that finance small businesses and community service organizations in under-served areas.
You may also try locate a local microlender through search engines such as the Microfinance Gateway or through the Association for Enterprise Opportunity.
Commercial Peer-to-Peer Lending Resources for US Small Businesses
Unlike the microlending programs mentioned above, commercial peer-to-peer lending programs accept only applicants with solid credit. Those who can access this form microlending will see nice interest rates on unsecured financing avoid all the processing, and fees associated with traditional business loans.
Lending Club— In this program, after you apply for a loan, investors kick in $25 or more till the full amount is reached. Borrowers can get a personal loan up to $25,000 payable in three years with fixed interest rates. You can apply online for free.
Prosper.com — Like Lending Club, to borrow at Prosper, business owners must have the credit of an upstanding citizens. In general, Prosper.com operates a lot like Lending Club, offering personal loans up to $25,000.
Crowdfunding Sites for Small Business Owners and Entrepreneurs
In the crowdfunding model, the online collective builds up funds in support of a project or organization. Thus, the fundee’s credit is no issue. What can be important is the borrower’s online reputation; what’s definitely important is the idea behind the funding request. Unlike traditional business financing, money gathered via crowdfunding is not directly repaid. Recipients offer their investors rewards in exchange for their pledge of money.
Kickstarter is perhaps the most well-known crowdfunding site, but several other services exist. Note that many will charge fees on the funds collected, so do your research before submitting a request for funding.
Now, then, a list of the top crowdfunding sites for small business owners:
-Venture Socially- Includes several tools and features to help pitch your project.
-33needs — Affords crowdfunding for social entrepreneurs and for enterprises and businesses with social missions.
–MicroVentures— Targets businesses that create technologies, consumer products, electronics, and web technology.
–Quirky— Does it live up to its name? Well, the platform offers product designers and inventors a channel for sending their products to market.
-FansNextdoor– This platform is for musicians, writers, artists, etc. It allows for funding an promotions. Recent campaigns include a record by Ross Robinson and a book by Benjamin Ledran.
–Cofundos–This one focuses on open-source software projects.
–Indiegogo –Submit any kind of project: creative, social, or entrepreneurial, and get the tools and platform you need to raise funds.
–Growvc— An umbrella for funding engines such as TradeUP, Crowd Valley, and Kapipal
–Rocket Hub— RocketHub is a community with a wide variety of projects; has been featured on TV and is partnering with A&E.
-Peerbackers– Allows entrepreneurs to raise capital from their peers
With a little persistance, small business owners and entrepreneurs can succeed with microfinancing platforms.