First, a dose of reality.
If your business is in the “So, I kind of have this idea … ” stage, you’ll probably have to self-fund for a while (absent, of course, a friend or relative with an abundance of cash and joie-de-vivre generosity).
If you’re a step or two beyond that, though, if you’ve actually got a little something going — then, yes, there are organizations that might grant or loan you some start-up funds.
These aren’t angel investors. There’ll be no $1 million check. And approval is not automatic.
Still, if you could use … $5,000? $10,000? Just a bit to push you forward?
Yes, they do that.
Here’s where to start looking:
A Fund for Women, in partnership with the Madison Community Foundation, has awarded 120 grants totaling more than $1.2 million. Last year, the fund awarded a total of $74,500 to four local nonprofits.
The Doyenne Evergreen Fund offers grants, loans and equity investment to women- and minority-owned businesses.
Madworks Accelerator offers small grants as part of a 10-week program for early-stage start-ups.
The Wisconsin Women’s Business Initiative Corporation offers loans ranging from $1,000 to $100,000, for women and men, or up to $250,000 using the Small Business Association Community Advantage Guarantee.
Kiva is an international nonprofit that crowdfunds loans in conjunction with a standard underwriting and approval process.