Tag Archives: business grants for women

9 Crowdfunding Websites for Entrepreneurs and Artists

16 Aug

Here are 9 alternative sources of funding for entrepreneurs and artists who are trying to raise capital for their startup or project.

MicroVentures

Also described as peer-to-peer lending, MicroVentures works with investors as well as with those who need money to get a certain project off the ground. According to their website, MicroVentures works with small companies and businesses in variety of areas:
Biotechnology
Business Products and Services
Computers and Peripherals
Consumer Products and Services
Education

Environment
Electronics
Financial Services
Healthcare Services
Internet Technology
IT Services
Media and Entertainment
Medical Devices and Equipment
Other
Retail/Distribution
Semiconductors
Software
Telecommunications
These companies pay $100 to MicroVentures and then send their business plan to the site for approval. Once approved, this idea will be posted on the website for serious investors to consider.

Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a crowdfunding site that is getting a lot of attention these days. With creative people posting new projects that need funding every day, this site is a place where the bohemian idea can turn into a viable possibility. The process is simple and a person can setup their Kickstarter project in just a few hours. A person posts their project details and creates a funding goal. During a certain period of time, investors and individuals are able to contribute so that the project meets or exceeds that goal. The project will only get the funding if the goal is met.
When the project creator reaches their goal, Kickstarter takes 5% of the monies for their service.

Quirky

If you’re a designer who needs to have financial support, Quirky is a crowdfunding site that supports your creative and inventive needs. The most valuable part of Quirky is the feedback you can receive for your project idea. For a $10 fee, you can post your idea and then see what others think about it. This allows you to create a product or service that is going to meet your market needs, increasing your chances of success. Once you have received feedback, then Quirky will decide whether or not they want to make the product. If they do, then you get paid. With the community vibe, Quirky is more of a progressive site than a straightforward investment site.

RocketHub

At RocketHub, you will find there are two audiences this crowdfunding site helps: Fuelers and Creatives. Fuelers are the ones who invest in the projects that the Creatives post. Unlike Kickstarter, there is more interaction on the RocketHub site, with plenty of resources for those who want to refine their idea before or after they post it on the site. Users can earn rewards or badges on the site in order to promote each other.
On RocketHub, there is a flat rate of 8% for Creatives who receive investments from Fuelers.

Pozible

When you look at Pozible, you will notice this is another crowdfunding site that offers many of the same tools as other sites already listed. What users will want to keep in mind is that local projects that are not based in Australia may not be as well received on this Australian website. Like other sites, companies and individuals will post their projects on the site and then investors will decide whether to invest in the projects or not.

Fees for using Pozible include 2.4% for PayPal transactions, 5% for invitees, and 7.5% for everyday users.

IndieGogo

With IndieGogo, you’ll find a creative crowdfunding site that’s interested in everything from performing arts to gaming ideas. Since one of the partnerships with IndieGogo is MTV, this is a valuable resource for those who want to break into the music and entertainment industry, but need the funding to get started with their unique idea. Like Kickstarter and others, you will need to meet your funding request before you can receive the funds. What sets IndieGogo apart is its use of pre-sales and rewards, which can create buzz for a project, even before it is funded and ready for the public eye.

CoFundos

If you’re interested in creating an open source software project, then CoFundos is the right crowdfunding site for you. Here, developers can post their open source software ideas, get feedback, and then request funds to continue to develop the project. You can post an idea and developers can agree to make your idea into a real program. While funding is not the only source of assistance on this site, donations are expected from those who decide to bid on a project idea.

Fans Next Door

Fans Next Door is a crowdfunding site that accepts all types of creative projects:
Visual arts
Performances
Fashion
Video games
Design
Music
Crafts

Here, posters will post their ideas and then investors will come along and help fund the idea. Since there is a reward system in place, investors are compelled to invest more as they will get more for their investment when they do. And the biggest plus of this European (beta) site is that there are no additional fees outside of the PayPal processing fees.

Crowdfunding is a new way to make sure that smaller companies and artists get the funding they need. By spreading out the investors, funding isn’t as difficult to achieve, but success is.

ProFounder

Profounder operates on the basis that inside everyone’s social circle both online and offline – there are people who are willing to support your dream. Each of those people potentially becomes an investor in your company, and equity is split amongst them. Profounder gives you the tools to raise the capital that you need, and the tools to manage all of the associated book-keeping, legals and compliance fillings. Right now, the site is still very much in alpha status, with registrations due to open in the Autumn. Still you can sign up for status as an ‘alpha entreupreneur’ if you want to start earlier than that, and are serious about using the system.

6 Capital Funding Sources for Minority Businesses

19 Jun
pepto pink office

Image by coco+kelley via Flickr

From our friends at  Inc.com.
Here are six  funding sources worth investigating.

1. Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)

These are grants with strings attached. The way it works is that IDAs are savings accounts that match the deposits of individuals with modest financial means. For every dollar saved in an IDA, savers receive a corresponding match. Savers agree to complete financial education classes and use their savings for an asset-building purpose such as to capitalize a business. There is no limitation on how long you can be in business but there income requirements which vary by county. Typically revenues for business owners fall under $50,000. In addition to earning matching dollars, savers learn about budgeting and receive additional training before purchasing an asset. For example, programs in Oregon let participants save $3,000 and the agency can match them with $9,000, allowing them to use a combined total of $12,000 towards building their business and without having to repay the funds. For more info, review the IDA directory.

2. Capital Assistance

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) recently announced $7.8 million in funding for 27 MBDA Business Centers (MBCs). These centers help minority firms with access to markets, contracts, capital and other strategic business consulting services. MBCs interface directly with minority business owners and managers at the local level. Whether it’s securing working capital from a lender, applying for an SBA loan, or responding to a grant proposal, MBCs help business owners prepare a funding package. Last year, MBCs helped their clients gain access to more than $800 million in financial packages, including working capital, equity investments, and bonding.

 
3. Forgivable Loans

This type of a loan is made with the understanding that if the borrower meets certain requirements, repayment of the loan will not be required. A forgivable loan is actually a grant, says Ough, “because if you do everything right you don’t have to pay the money back.” A stipulation may be that you are required to hire and train employees, Ough explains. She cites for example a particular forgivable loan program that allowed recipients to hire up to five employees. “For every employee you hired you were given $5,000 for each. So, you had up to $25,000 you could use for anything related to supporting the growth of your business.” As a growing business, you are going to be hiring employees anyway. This program gives you an incentive to do so, adds Ough. The Regional Investment Board manages lottery funds in Oregon which are used for economic development purposes. These monies are available to entities in the form of grants or loans to support projects that will create jobs in the region. Just as well, you may be able to take advantage of other state loans programs and loan guarantees.

4. Micro Loans

Poor credit history is a barrier for many entrepreneurs seeking traditional financing. “If you have not positioned your personal credit such that a bank will find you to be a strong enough credit risk, they won’t lend to you,” says Jennifer Spaziano, vice president of business development at ACCION USA, a microfinance institution that lends to 48 states across the U.S., providing loans to upstarts, especially women and minority businesses. ACCION New York is one of hundreds of regional and national nonprofit groups that make micro loans from as little as $500 up to $35,000. Many of these groups are funded by The U.S. Small Business Administration. Cities like San Francisco and New York City have expanded or introduced their own microfinance programs. Each organization has its own lending requirements. ACCION USA has provided over $119 million in over 19,000 micro loans since inception in 1991. To learn more, visit the Association for Enterprise Opportunity’s website.

5. SBIR Grants

There is a lot of talk and excitement around technology, particularly coming from the Obama Administration. Review the possibility of obtaining a Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant or Small Business Technology Transfer Program (STTR) funding. You might not be in a position to go after venture capital, yet you may need initial funding for early stage research and development, says Ough. For instance, “we are working with a client who has developed a new process for providing a better educational tool for kids with autism. We pulled out an application to apply for the grant through the National Institute for Health.” The SBIR program was established by Congress in 1982 as a means of stimulating innovation with more than $ 2.2 billion dollars set aside annually with first phase funding of up to $100,000. Phase two is a $750,000 award. The SBIR/STTR program reaches out to socially and economically disadvantaged firms. The participation rate of minority- and women-owned firms in SBIR/STTR just within the Department of Defense is roughly 21 percent. Two sites to check out are Zny and SBIR.gov.

6. New Market Tax Credit

For companies looking for commercial ownership or to own their own facility, Ough suggests exploring new market tax credits. This federal program is administered by the U.S. Department of Treasury Community Development Financial Institutions Fund. Designed to provide investments to projects and businesses in low-income communities, the program has expanded to include investments in minority business. NMTC permits taxpaying investors to receive a credit against their federal income tax liability for making qualified equity investments in designated Community Development Entities (CDEs). The credit is spread over seven years, amounting to roughly 39 percent of the investment made in a qualified entity. Many states have passed a tax credit for minority business. The provisions and limitations of these credits vary from state to state. Many of them resemble the New Market Tax credit and give tax credits against state income tax to investments that are used to support minority building projects or encourage minority business ownership, which includes women-owned businesses. However, these credits are extremely tough to get and are highly competitive.

In addition, contact your National Chamber of Commerce. There are a number of national chambers of commerce specific to women and minority sectors that offer access to funding sources, including the National Women’s Chamber of Commerce, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, the National Black Chamber of Commerce and the Native American Chamber of Commerce.

“To find all the funding sources available in your community, you need to become a great connector so that you get familiar with all the programs available for starting and growing your business,” says Ough. “If that’s not possible, then the next best thing is to find those connectors that can guide you.” Connectors are the top ten businesses, organizations or key players in your community that you get referred to when you are trying to find resources and funding for your specific business.

National Association for Moms in Business Grant Competition!

12 May
Pink Umbrella

Business grant competition via crowdfunding to give mom entrepreneurs a better chance at launching a new or current business project. All participants win a half-page feature in Moms In Business Magazine, publicity on peerbackers.com and momsinbusinessgrant.com, and a $2,000 publicity toolkit from PRNewswire. When the crowdfunding competition ends, all grant applicants who raised 80% or more of their funding goal will become semi-finalists. A team of mom executives and entrepreneurs will judge each application to determine the $10,000 Grand Prize Grant Package winner. Competitors must be a member of NAFMIB.

Competition ends June 15, 2011

Enter here  http://mibn.org/site.php/spgs/read/momsinbusinessgrant-about

Win $25,000 for your business!

17 Apr
Money Stinky Feet Bankroll Girls February 08, ...

Image by stevendepolo via Flickr

Verisign is sponsoring a new contest that could net one lucky small business owner $25,000.Enter the contest, and you could win $25,000 by explaining where a .com/.net will take your business

What does it take to be eligible to win $25,000? Below is what you will need to get ready to enter the contest
Be an actual small business (fewer than 50 employees)
An uploadable photo of your company

Your pitch (video or essay)
Video submissions (must be no longer than two minutes or larger than 2 GB†)
Essay submissions (must be between 100 and 300 words)

For more information and to register, visit http://www.dotnetforsmallbiz.net/

Financing Trends for 2011

28 Dec
Image representing Catwalk Genius as depicted ...

Image via CrunchBase

Hello Ladies,

2011 is almost here and I am sure a lot of you a wondering what types of financing will be available for small businesses. According to one of our favorite websites entrepreneur.com there are 5 financing trends that you should watch out for.

1. Crowdfunding (especially niche crowdfunding)
Kickstarter popularized the idea of crowdfunding, which is when a large group of people help fund a project or business through a cluster of small donations. Kickstarter began as a new way to help artists get projects off the ground. In return for funding, donors receive goods or services, or even just a well-crafted thank-you, in lieu of equity or interest payments. Now the same idea is spreading to business ventures. Diaspora, a tech company that wants to build a social network to rival Facebook got more than $200,000 in seed money from a Kickstarter campaign.

3 hot niche crowdfunding sites are:

Catwalk Genius – Members fund fledgling fashion designers and in return get a share of the revenue generated by the designer’s clothing lines.

Indiegogo – Leans toward creative and tech business ventures.

Peerbackers – A community of people specifically looking to support entrepreneurs, which are similar to Kickstarter in that they encourage preselling products as a way to raise funds.

2. Microlending
The idea of offering very small loans, even just $100, has its roots in helping women in underdeveloped countries start small business ventures. But as the recession tightened credit offerings, the popularity of microlending has extended to the U.S. — especially as aspiring entrepreneurs are starting ventures with far less than the $50,000 business loan threshold common at many banks. Not-for-profit Accion is the largest organization putting that idea into action with loans that start at $500 and average a little more than $5,000. You can also research other microlending programs around the U.S. through the Association for Enterprise Opportunity’s searchable database.

3. Credit Unions
These cooperative financial institutions are among the most active in making smaller loans to entrepreneurs and have only gotten busier in recent years, according to the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA). Its figures show credit unions made more than $33 billion worth of business loans in 2009, up from $12 billion in 2004. They have relatively low default rates and terms that are often better than traditional banks, according to the NCUA and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC). Credit unions also can be a resource for aspiring business owners whose credit score might not pass muster with other banks. The catch? You will likely have to become a member of the credit union to borrow from it.

4. Bootstrapping
If you’ve trimmed your start-up costs down to a few hundred or a couple thousand dollars, why not skip the loan altogether and bootstrap your business? When you tap personal savings, get vendors to front start-up supplies for delayed payment terms, hit up friends and relatives, or use one money-making venture to fund another, then you’re bootstrapping. It’s a good way to test an idea and make sure it has legs before investing heavily in a new venture. Think of it as the business equivalent of going retro. It’s an idea that has been around forever, but is making a big comeback as people who have lost their jobs in the recession increasingly look to start a small business as an alternative to traditional employment.

5. The Slow Money Movement
Woody Tasch, longtime chairman of Investors’ Circle, a hugely successful angel network for socially responsible companies, is spearheading this fledgling movement. Its ambitious aim is “a million Americans investing 1% of their assets in local food systems within a decade.”

The idea is to help entrepreneurs who buy, use and sell local food or who engage in sustainable agriculture get seed funding from people they know in their communities. The terms are set on a deal-by-deal basis, which can range from a loan to equity to a credit extension. Backers are encouraged to invest in ventures that won’t just turn quick profits but will benefit their communities over the long term by creating jobs, supporting other local businesses and the fostering local food chain.

For more information visit www.entrepreneur.com

Hey Rhode Island Entrepreneurs–there’s 150k in Prizes Up for Grabs!

12 Dec
Great seal of the state of Rhode Island

Image via Wikipedia

The Rhode Island Business Plan Competition is the leading community-supported business plan competition in the Northeast, supported by private businesses, colleges and universities, public entities, and nonprofit organizations.

Established in 2000, the Competition aims to further develop the entrepreneurial spirit in Rhode Island and help create growth companies that will increase local employment.

The Competition encourages plans for new businesses, as well as from early stage companies. An early stage, or seed stage, company typically is at the inventor stage where there is an idea, a concept, or even a product, but little or no income has been generated yet.

Winners and finalists will share more than $150,000 in prizes.

Applications to the Rhode Island Business Plan Competition must be submitted online and may be submitted at any time, but no later than by 5 p.m. Eastern time on April 4, 2011.

For more information please visit http://www.ri-bizplan.com

Need money for a creative project or venture? check out Kickstarter

17 Nov
Bright Bike on Kickstarter

Image by mandiberg via Flickr

Kickstarter is a website for funding creative projects. The website has funded a large number of projects, ranging from indie film and music to journalism and food-related projects.

Kickstarter provides a platform where people can raise money from the general public. Project owners choose a deadline and a target minimum of funds to raise. If the chosen target is not gathered by the deadline, no funds are collected. Money pledged by donors is collected using the Amazon Payments system, and initiating projects require a U.S. bank account.

Kickstarter is a site for projects from the worlds of music, film, technology, art, design, food, publishing, and other creative fields.

In order to post your project on Kickstarter.com you must abide by their  rules:


No charity projects or causes. This includes everything from raising money for the Red Cross to individual causes such as “Buy Jenny a Prom Dress.”

Fundraising for projects only. What’s a project? Making a new line for your fashion label, recording a new album, building a game. Projects are specific and finite.

For more information on Kickstarter, please visit their website at  www.kickstarter.com

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