Readers Respond: Funding Resource Tips for WIB
How to Finance a Small Business
Having a marketable idea is only the first step to becoming a women entrepreneur. Some ideas require little or no start-up cash, but most new businesses require money to make money.
There many ways to finance a new business, including:
- Personal Loans
- Small Business Loans
- Lines of Credit
- Home Equity Loans
- Credit Cards
- 401k Plans
- Borrowing from Family or Friends
- Venture Capital
- Angel Investors
Funding Resources for Women Entrepreneurs
The following is an alphabetical list of information links to help you find small business funding, and access lenders, venture capital investors, angel investors, and business incubators. Be sure to check out as many resources as possible to find the best financing options for your small business.
- ACCION USA: ACCION is a private nonprofit organization that offers small business loans of up to $25,000 to business owners who may have trouble accessing commercial loans. They offer special programs for women- and minority-owned businesses. You can also list your products and services with ACCION to let purchasers know about your business.
- Angel Capital Association (ACA): A nonprofit organization, ACA is an alliance of nearly 200 angel organizations in the United States and Canada. The ACA directory includes a link to the website of each member organization.
- Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO): Members of the AEO provide assistance with with micro-loans, training, technical assistance, access to services, and more. Microenterprise is defined as "a business employing 5 or fewer individuals, with start-up financing needs of $35,000 or less."
- Count Me In For Women's Economic Independence: This nonprofit organization offers access to loans for women business owners, as well as training scholarships for women seeking higher education. Their mission is to, "inspire 1 million women entrepreneurs to reach annual revenues of $1 million by the year 2010."
Women who have been in business for at least 2 years, with revenues of $250,000 or more, can apply for the "Make Mine a Million $ Business Award." Businesses less than 2 years old, and/or with revenues under $250,000, can apply for up to $5,000 in financing.
- Digital Women's Listing of Women-Friendly Banks and Other Financial Institutions: Find information on banks, loan programs, venture capitalists, and other institutions that cater to women.
- National Business Incubators Association (NBIA): The NBIA is a nonprofit organization with an extensive resource directory on incubator-related topics. Incubators provide hands-on management assistance, access to financing, and business and technical support services. Incubators sometimes provide shared office space and services, access to equipment, flexible leases, and expandable space.
- National Venture Capital Association (NVCA): The NVCA is a trade association that represents the U.S. venture capital industry. It is a member-based organization, consisting of venture capital firms that manage pools of risk equity capital dedicated to be invested in high growth, entrepreneurial companies. A good resource for learning more about venture capitalists.
- U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA): The SBA offers many loan programs, but does not offer funding itself. It serves as a guarantor of loans made by private and other institutions, and can help you attract venture capital. SBA programs offer debt and equity financing. They also have programs for certified women-owned businesses and minority-owned businesses.
- U.S. Small Business Administration "Micro Friendly Businesses in the U.S.:A free,downloadable publication (Adobe or other pdf reader required) listing banks that lend $100k or less to small businesses in the U.S.