Your business plan will help you figure out how much money you’ll need to start your business. If you don’t have that amount on hand, you’ll need to either raise or borrow the capital. Fortunately, there are more ways than ever to find the capital you need.

Types of Funding

Otherwise known as bootstrapping, self-funding lets you leverage your own financial resources to support your business. Self-funding can come in the form of turning to family and friends for capital, using your savings accounts, or even tapping into your 401k. With self-funding, you retain complete control over the business but you also take on all the risk yourself. Be careful not to spend more than you can afford, and be especially careful if you choose to use tap into retirement accounts early. You might face expensive fees or penalties, or damage your ability to retire on time — so you should check with your plan’s administrator and a personal financial advisor first.
Venture Capital
Investors can give you funding to start your business in the form of venture capital investments. Venture capital is normally offered in exchange for an ownership share and active role in the company. Almost all venture capitalists will, at a minimum, want a seat on the board of directors. So be prepared to give up some portion of both control and ownership of your company in exchange for funding. Venture capital differs from traditional financing in a number of important ways. Venture capital typically:

- Focuses high-growth companies
- Invests capital in return for equity, rather than debt (it’s not a loan)
- Takes higher risks in exchange for potential higher returns
- Has a longer investment horizon than traditional financing

Crowd Funding
Crowdfunding raises funds for a business from a large number of people, called crowdfunders. Crowdfunders aren’t technically investors, because they don’t receive a share of ownership in the business and don’t expect a financial return on their money. Instead, crowdfunders expect to get a “gift” from your company as thanks for their contribution. Often, that gift is the product you plan to sell or other special perks, like meeting the business owner or getting their name in the credits. This makes crowdfunding a popular option for people who want to produce creative works (like a documentary), or a physical product (like a high-tech cooler). Crowdfunding is also popular because it’s very low risk for business owners. Not only do you get to retain full control of your company, but if your plan fails, you’re typically under no obligation to repay your crowdfunders. Every crowdfunding platform is different, so make sure to read the fine print and understand your full financial and legal obligations.
Small Business Loan
If you want to retain complete control of your business, but don’t have enough funds to start, consider a small business loan. To increase your chances of securing a loan, you should have a business plan, expense sheet, and financial projections for the next five years. These tools will give you an idea of how much you’ll need to ask for, and will help the bank know they’re making a smart choice by giving you a loan. Once you have your materials ready, contact banks and credit unions to request a loan. You’ll want to compare offers to get the best possible terms for your loan.
Apply for a Grant
Various organizations offer grants to help fund your business. Grants do not need to be paid back but there are deliverables that are required by each grant.
Tamara Tyson pitch
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SBA Small Business Loans

Standard 7(a) Loan

The 7(a) loan program is the SBA’s primary program for providing financial assistance to small businesses. The terms and conditions, like the guaranty percentage and loan amount, may vary by the type of loan.

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7(a) Small Loan

Maximum loan amount $350K with turnaround of 5-10 business days. Interest rate negotiable.

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Export Express

The Export Express program provides exporters and lenders a streamlined method to obtain SBA-backed financing for loans and lines of credit up to $500,000. Lenders use their own credit decision process and loan.

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SBA Express

Maximum loan $350K. SBA to respond to application within 36 hours. Loans for up to 84 mon.

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Export Working Capital

Export Working Capital loans are for businesses that can generate export sales and need additional working capital to support these sales. Lenders review and approve applications and submit the request to the U.S.

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International Trade

Export Working Capital loans are for businesses that can generate export sales and need additional working capital to support these sales. Lenders review and approve applications and submit the request to the U.S. Export Assistance Center location servicing the exporter’s region.

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4.0 Schools Fellowships

Fellowships from 4.0 Schools are designed to help business owners who have an idea to improve education in the United States. Your business idea could be a school, technology tool, retail product, or service. Business owners who are just testing the waters on their idea can get mini-grants of $600, and businesses that are further along are eligible for $10,000. The application cycle closes every September.


37 Angels

While not a traditional grant program, 37 Angels can be a great funding solution for startups looking for investment. While they don’t only invest in women-owned businesses, 37 Angels is actively trying to close the gender gap in startup investing. According to their website, about one-third of their portfolio is women founders. After submitting an application through their website, you may have the opportunity to pitch their network of investors (an event that happens every two months). You’ll receive a funding decision in four weeks and can receive an investment of up to $200,000. In addition to funds, 37 Angels also provides education and ongoing support.


Amber Grant

Amber Grants began in 1998 in honor of Amber Wigdahl, who died before fulfilling her dreams. Each month we award an Amber Grant of $10,000, and one of our 12 monthly recipients receives an additional $25,000 Amber Grant.


Backstage Capital

Backstage Capital provides support to startup founders through programs and grants. Applicants must identify as women, people of color and/or LGBTQ+ members and be affiliates with a for-profit stage company.


Cartier Women’s Initiative Award

The Cartier Women’s Initiative Award is awarded once a year to 21 female entrepreneurs around the world. The Cartier award grant is intended for women business owners in the early stages of development of their business (between one to three years old). The business should be generating revenue, but need not be profitable. The top seven finalists will win $100,000 and one-to-one business mentoring from an expert that Cartier finds for you. The remaining 14 applicants will win a $30,000 prize. Each of the 21 small business grant award finalists will receive a spot in the INSEAD Social Entrepreneurship Six-Day Executive Program (ISEP), as well as the opportunity to participate in entrepreneurship workshops, business coaching seminars, and networking opportunities.


Coalition to Back Black Businesses

The Coalition to Back Black Businesses is a multiyear grantmaking and training initiative. It helps black-owned small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Up to $5,000 in grants will be awarded each fall through 2023.


Comcast RISE

Comcast RISE provides marketing, creative, media, and technology support. This multiyear commitment intends to benefit small businesses owned by people of color.


Galaxy of Stars Grant

Enter for a chance to win a $3,750 Galaxy Grant, brought to you by Hidden Star, a 501(c)(3). Our mission is to help minority and women entrepreneurs succeed. Refer a friend and double your chances of winning with their entry. If they win, YOU BOTH WIN!! Galaxy of Stars provides free tools to help businesses succeed. These tools include free website and free hosting, forums that provide a great, safe place to interact with other entrepreneurs; curated educational content and tutorials that will help you grow and improve your business, trusted resources that will provide you with honest, unbiased guidance that you can trust and rely on.

If you’re looking for federally sponsored grants for women, the best place to start is All government grants are open to male and female business owners, and this site serves as a database of all federal grants—including those specifically available for small business owners. To search for this type of grant, visit the official government grants website and check out their section for grant applicants to see if you’re eligible.

It’s important to note that this database includes a variety of grants, so you may need to sort through different options to find those that are the most relevant to small business owners. can serve as a great starting point with over a dozen federal government agencies participating in the database.


Halstead Grant

The Halstead Grant started in 2006 as a small business grant for women entrepreneurs specifically in the jewelry industry. The grant is awarded to emerging jewelry designers in the United States—specifically geared toward businesses under five years old.

Those that apply should be prepared to answer a series of questions about their business goals and strategies. Winners are awarded a $7,500 cash grant, $1,000 toward Halstead jewelry supplies, and publicity within the jewelry industry. The good news is that even those applicants who don’t win will receive general feedback on their business plan from the judges.


The HerRise Micro-Grant provides financial support to women of color who are often unable to secure funding for their small business. Each month a $500 micro-grant will be awarded to a small business owned by women of color. Small business grants are useful for financing a particular small business need. Past recipients used their growth grants for computers, equipment, marketing materials, website creation and more.


The IdeaCafe Grant awards a $1,000 micro-grant to one small business owner each year. The application deadline is in January, so apply early. Although the funding isn’t technically a small business grant for women only, the vast majority of the winners have been female entrepreneurs.

This is a great grant to apply to if you’re a relatively new startup looking for funding. This grant is also available for those that have an idea for a business but haven’t actively started building it yet.


When IFundWomen brokers a grant with a partner, we match the partner’s grant criteria to those businesses who have applied through our Universal Grant Application. If you’re a match, we may request that you apply for that partner’s specific grant program, and you will be notified. Since we launched this program, IFundWomen has secured more than $8M in corporate grants to pay forward to our members (that’s you). So far, we have only deployed around 40% of the grant pool, so there is still a ton of money to go around. If you are interested in being a part of this database, fill this app out.


IFundWomen of Color

Crowdfunding for early stage entrepreneurs.


As part of the First Women campaign, Jane Walker and IFundWomen have teamed up to help create more opportunities for women to achieve their goals. Jane Walker will be funding a total of 30 groundbreaking women-owned businesses through the end of the year. Businesses will be selected across the entertainment and film, music, sports, STEM, journalism, and hospitality industries to receive a $10,000 grant plus a one-year annual coaching membership on IFundWomen. Program Criteria: Business must be located in the United States. Must generate a minimum of $25K in annual revenue. Must have been in business for at least 2 years. Must be a self-identified woman entrepreneur with at least 50% ownership in your business. Must have a product/service in market that falls into one of the following categories: Entertainment & Film, Music, Journalism, Sports, STEM and Hospitality. Must have a groundbreaking women-owned business that is pushing boundaries to create a more vibrant, diverse world!


KKR Grant

KKR Small Business Builders has an emphasis on companies that are pivoting their business in response to the pandemic; are operated by historically underrepresented groups (HUGs); and/or are providing important community services. To be eligible, a business must have between 5 and 50 employees, less than $7 million USD in annual revenue, demonstrated need for support, a strong plan for moving forward, and be in good standing with the IRS or their local regulatory body.


Kuvio Creative

Kuvio Creative is a full-service web design and development company that gives back to entrepreneurs who are making a difference by providing them with small business grants and free services. Applications for the Kuvio Impact Grant open three times per year. Grant recipients will receive up to 100 hours of free services, such as web design and marketing, depending on the scope of the project. This program is reserved for nonprofits, women-owned companies, minority-owned businesses, and veteran-owned organizations.



National Institute for Health

NIH is the largest public funder of biomedical research in the world, investing more than $32 billion a year to enhance life, and reduce illness and disability? NIH funded research has led to breakthroughs and new treatments, helping people live longer, healthier lives, and building the research foundation that drives discovery.


National Association for Self Employment

The National Association for the Self Employed (NASE) awards quarterly $4,000 Growth Grants to its members. Membership starts at $12 a month.


NIST Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) Announcements 

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) was founded in 1901 and is now part of the U.S. Department of Commerce. NIST is one of the nation’s oldest physical science laboratories. Congress established the agency to remove a major challenge to U.S. industrial competitiveness at the time—a second-rate measurement infrastructure that lagged behind the capabilities of the United Kingdom, Germany, and other economic rivals. Today, NIST measurements support the smallest of technologies to the largest and most complex of human-made creations—from nanoscale devices so tiny that tens of thousands can fit on the end of a single human hair up to earthquake-resistant skyscrapers and global communication networks.


Rural Energy for America Program Renewable Energy Systems & Energy Efficiency Improvement Guaranteed Loans & Grants

The program provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements. Agricultural producers may also apply for new energy efficient equipment and new system loans for agricultural production and processing.


Rural Micro Entrepreneur Loans

If you dream of owning or expanding a successful business, Wealth Watchers can help turn your dream into a reality by providing you access to financial education, small business training and needed capital. Wealth Watchers is a trusted nonprofit for microenterprise and small business. We are an approved Rural Microentrepreneur Assistance Program (RMAP) lender and a leader in small business education. We offer ongoing entrepreneur classes and microenterprise loans from $5,000 – $50,000 to cover a variety of projects. Wealth Watchers will maintain the RMAP Microloan Fund. We administer and service the microloan fund. The loan terms will not exceed 10 years. The express purpose for RMAP Loan Fund is to provide low-interest loans to micro enterprises, micro borrowers and micro businesses that do not have access to capital through traditional means, meet the needs of rural communities and fill gaps in the regional economy.

Rural Relief Small Business Grants

The Local Initiatives Support Corp. (LISC), a non-profit community development financial institution, offers financial assistance through grants. Grants are specially targeted to small businesses in under-served communities, including entrepreneurs of color, women, and veterans who own businesses. In all, 900 grants worth a total of $18 million are available.


SBIR & STTR America’s Seed Fund

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs are highly competitive programs that encourage domestic small businesses to engage in Federal Research/Research and Development (R/R&D) with the potential for commercialization. Through a competitive awards-based program, SBIR and STTR enable small businesses to explore their technological potential and provide the incentive to profit from its commercialization. By including qualified small businesses in the nation’s R&D arena, high-tech innovation is stimulated, and the United States gains entrepreneurial spirit as it meets its specific research and development needs.

Central to the STTR program is the partnership between small businesses and nonprofit research institutions. The STTR program requires the small business to formally collaborate with a research institution in Phase I and Phase II. STTR’s most important role is to bridge the gap between performance of basic science and commercialization of resulting innovations.



Provides Black community funding and mentoring for pre-revenue technology startups in FL.


The Southern Opportunity And Resilience (SOAR) Fund provides flexible, affordable capital and free business support services to small businesses and nonprofits across the south and southeast to help them navigate and rebuild from the Covid-19 economic crisis.


Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) & Small Bussiness technology Transfer (SBTT) Grants

The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) programs, also known as America’s Seed Fund, are one of the largest sources of early-stage capital for technology commercialization in the United States. These programs allow US-owned and operated small businesses to engage in federal research and development that has a strong potential for commercialization. NIH’s SBIR and STTR programs invest over 1 billion dollars into health and life science companies that are creating innovative technologies that align with NIH’s mission to improve health and save lives. A key objective is to translate promising technologies to the private sector and enable life-saving innovations to reach consumer markets.


Sports Equipment Grant

Their mission is to give all kids the lifelong benefits of sport and physical activity by providing equipment, apparel and footwear to those most in need. They create opportunities in sports and physical activity for kids through donations of brand new sports equipment, apparel, and footwear.


Tory Burch Foundation Fellowship Program

1-Year Fellowship including virtual education, workshops and intensives to grow your business. Gain an online community where you can connect and share ideas. Accepted applicants will also receive a $5,000 grant to advance their business education. The fellowship also includes a trip to the Tory Burch Offices for workshops and networking with your community of Fellows!

*pending CDC health and safety guidelines


USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG)

The USDA Rural Business Enterprise Grants (RBEG) Program provides grants to finance the development of small and emerging businesses in rural areas. The funds can be used for land acquisition, construction, renovation, technical assistance, project planning, and more. The program is a broad based program that reaches to the core of rural development in a number of ways. Eligible entities include: cities, communities, state agencies, and authorities), Indian tribes and rural private non-profit corporations are eligible to apply for funding. At least 51 percent of the outstanding interest in any project must have membership or be owned by U.S. citizens or resident aliens.


Verizon Small Business Digital Ready Program (VSBDR) 

Digital Ready is our online curriculum designed to give small businesses like yours the personalized tools to succeed in today’s digital world. Learning modules, expert coaching, peer networking, access grant opportunities throughout the year and more—it’s all here, and it’s all part of our goal to provide resources to help one million small businesses thrive in the digital economy.

$10,000 grant opportunities now available — To be eligible to apply, users must complete any combination of 2 courses, coaching events and community events. Engagements through Personalized Mentoring feature are not included towards grant eligibility.


Visa Everywhere Initiative

Visa Everywhere Initiative is an open innovation program that helps startups like yours unlock new opportunities—and gives you a global platform to demonstrate your ground-breaking solutions. The program first launched in the U.S. in 2015, and has since expanded to every corner of the world, recruiting startups from over 100 countries. Over the past five years, more than 7,000 startups have participated, and they’ve collectively raised more than $2.5 billion in funding.



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Enrollment dates and links to register online for current programs can be found in our calendarPartial scholarships and payment schedules are available.

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