A Road Map for Success
Give crowdfunding a try.
Loosely defined, crowdfunding is one way to launch a business by getting a bunch of people you may or may not know to donate the startup money online. If you decide to go this route, you can either create and manage your own crowdfunding site or use an existing crowdfunding platform such as Kickstarter or GoFundMe. There are pros and cons to either option, and the SEC has rules and procedures for soliciting “shareholders” online. If crowdfunding appeals to you, look to the specialists at your local Florida SBDC office for advice and do your homework before signing on to anything.
Targeted Financing Opportunities
If you are Black, Hispanic or female, your business may be eligible for targeted financing:
The Black Business Loan Program (floridajobs.org/BBLP) provides loans, loan guarantees and/or investments through loan administrators to Black business enterprises that cannot otherwise obtain capital through conventional lending institutions. In addition, Black Business Investment Corporations throughout Florida stand ready to facilitate access to capital for Black business owners.
Likewise, Hispanic business owners can find funding information and other business resources pertinent to their specific needs through Prospera (prosperausa.org). This nonprofit economic development organization provides bilingual assistance to entrepreneurs seeking to access capital in the form of traditional bank loans as well as SBA and micro-loans.
And while no government loan programs exist exclusively for women business owners, recent history shows that SBA loans are three to five times more likely to go to women than non-SBA-guaranteed loans. On the local level, Women’s Business Centers stand ready to provide assistance in applying for loans and also may provide access to alternative capital financing programs.
Likewise, there appear to be no federal funding opportunities available solely to veterans who want to launch businesses. However, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Small & Disadvantaged Business Utilization (va.gov/osdbu/) has plenty to offer on the subject of veteran business startups. Click on its Veteran Entrepreneur Portal for easy access to federal services and best-practices information about starting, growing and funding a business. In addition, the SBA website has an entire section devoted to business resources for veteran entrepreneurs at sba.gov/business-guide/grow-your-business/veteran-owned-businesses.