Depending on the type of business you are running or planning on starting, one or more of the agencies or programs below could help. You will also want to learn about the different types of funding found in our Getting Money area.
Business Funding Agencies & Programs
- U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA): this agency works with your local bank to help guarantee loans for small business. Loans can be up to $750,000, but most small businesses need less than this. Consider the LowDoc program that has a simplified application process and loan amounts up to $100,000. You will need a well written business plan and have something for collateral (home). Another type of loan from the SBA is the Microloan for under $25,000. This is a typical loan amount for a small businesses start-up. Some areas of the country have Women Business Programs within the local SBA offices that handle helping women business owners find the capital they need to get going in business.
- Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs) are private organizations that are sponsored by the SBA. These organizations provide funding or make equity investments for small business start-ups. Check with the SBA for more information about these companies.
- SEED Programs, or Self-Employment and Enterprise Development Programs, provide loans to unemployed workers to help them start their own business. Instead of collecting unemployment insurance you are provided with counseling, training, other types of assistance and funding. These programs are only available in a few states, so contact your local state government or the US Department of Labor in Washington, DC for more information.
- Another state funded program is the State Economic Development Agency. These organizations lend small amounts of money to small businesses and some are very interested in women-owned businesses. Contact your state government for details.
- Small Business Development Centers (SBDC), which usually reside on university campuses, have well stocked resources for small businesses. A few loans are also available. Also check out the SCORE program – this links retired professionals with small businesses for mentoring and advice on a wide range of topics. In my area, SCORE programs are advertised in the local business papers and through the SBA.