A Women's Funding Network Initiative
 
Funding

Funding

Ready to find the funds to start or grow your business?

Funding your business can be complicated. There are so many opportunities (and so many potential risks!). Remember to do your research carefully—there are some bad lenders out there who might push you to take a loan that will leave you in big debt. Check out this curated list of funding opportunities for your business.

Before You Begin

Loans

Loans for businesses can come from banks, credit unions, private lenders, or community development financial institutions (CDFIs). Here are some resources, services and tools that can help you figure out what kind of loan is best for you, and how to get your documents and plans in order so that you can apply successfully and pay your loans back without accumulating big fees. Learn about the fundamental rights you should insist on from a lender, and the lenders that have pledged to uphold them on Borrowers Bill of Rights.

Crowd Funding

Crowdfunding means asking your community and your network for support. There are many different ways to crowdfund, and lots of platforms and tools to help you build your crowdfunding campaign. This is a great option for small business owners who have strong online networks, and who are internet savvy.

Lending Circles

Lending Circles typically are formed by a community of friends and family who are looking to raise funds for various expenses, such as small business expenses. Participants lend money to each other and decide collectively on the total amount to be loaned by the fund. Lending Circles usually have each member of the circle contribute part of the total amount to the fund every month, but the timeline can be decided by your circle. Every month, someone has access to the total fund and the circle also agrees on the order of the payout.

Here’s an article from NerdWallet with more information on lending circles and how they can be useful to build credit.

Below are some platforms to use to start a lending circle.

Grants

Grants are funds for your business that you do not have to pay back. Grants can come from the government, from organizations or other businesses, or from foundations. Grants can be competitive so make sure your business is eligible before applying! Check out this list of grant opportunities.