If you are looking for financial assistance to establish or expand your business, there are a wide variety of options available. Funding options range from traditional bank loans to specialized loan programs, from venture capital funds to angel investing.
Funding for Business of All Sizes
Standard business loans are available through the large number of banks and lending institutions. Having your business plan and financial papers prepared prior to your meeting with your local business banker puts you ahead of the game. Several of the local Chambers of Commerce host SCORE counselors who provide confidential, no cost counseling. SCORE services are also available in downtown Seattle, Snohomish County, Kitsap County and Tacoma.
Specialized and alternative loan programs are also an option, with programs administered by
- Community Capital Development – offers financing to qualified small business and start-ups through their loan program.
- Craft3 – making loans to businesses to finance real estate, working capital and/or financing for the acquisition of additional or replacement furniture, fixtures, equipment and related personal property.
- Evergreen Business Capital – specializes in SBA 504 loans; also works with clients on USDA rural loan program.
- Northwest Business Development Association – specializes in SBA 504 loans.
Traditional Bank Loans
- Financial institutions work closely with small and large business to provide comprehensive business banking services. SBA loans and USDA loans are among products most offer.
Other Funding Resources
- This list from ChooseWashington details specialty programs for funding infrastructure, projects and businesses
- This SBA quick list covers both grant and small business options
A wide variety of organizations make funding grants available to businesses—particularly businesses in high-technology fields engaged in research and development – including grants.gov and the federal SBIR (Small Business Innovation and Research) program. Be prepared for extremely rigorous and competitive application processes when going after grants.
Industrial Revenue Bonds (IRB)
The Washington Economic Development Finance Authority (WEDFA) is an independent agency within the executive branch of state government that has the authority to issue nonresource development bonds on both a taxable and tax-exempt basis for qualifying projects. WEDFA’s bond programs include Tax-Exempt Industrial Revenue and “Exempt Facilities” Bonds, and the “Taxable Tail” Consolidated Taxable/Tax-Exempt Nonrecourse Revenue Bond Financing Program.
- Venture capital is a long-term investment provided by professionals to young, rapidly growing companies that have the potential to develop into significant economic contributors.
- Venture capital firms are generally private partnerships or closely held corporations funded by various sources, such as private and public pension funds, endowment funds, foundations, corporations, foreign investors, and the venture capitalists themselves.
- Venture capitalists often take a “hands on” approach to investing and will expect to be an active participant and decision maker for firms they invest in.
- Obtaining venture capital funding is extremely competitive. For investment consideration, a firm’s technical and business merits are screened.
- Venture capitalists invest in other companies because they want to see significant positive financial returns. Only companies that show the most promise at success and growth are likely to receive venture capital funds.
- Technology and biomedical companies have been popular choices for venture capitalists in the past few years.
- Recent federal legislation has changed the venture and angel funding somewhat; do your homework.
Small businesses and new emerging companies need money to grow. Frequently, they can find it difficult to find the necessary capital through bank loans. This is where “Angel Investors” can play a big part in the success of the continued growth of a company. Angel Investors typically have more leeway than more traditional lenders and investors in the kinds of businesses they can invest in, such as small businesses that have smaller marketplaces and smaller returns on their investment.
The newest form of business financing is perhaps not all that new. Imagine instead of asking family and friends to help fund your business, you reach out via the Internet to others who share your passion and goals for your business idea. Listed below are two of the more popular sites, but not endorsed by KEDA.