OutBuro lgbt professional entreprenuer networking online community gay lesbian transgender queer bisexual nonbinary 2

Fiverr Announces Inaugural Future Collective, a Business Accelerator Fellowship for Black Entrepreneurs

Future Collective fellows to receive funding as well as access to a free 6-month training and mentorship program for startups

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Fiverr, the company that is changing how the world works together, is announcing its inaugural Future Collective Fellowship Program as well as the five fellows who have been selected to receive funding, training and mentorship. Fiverr’s Future Collective was created alongside 1863 Ventures, an independent, Black-led nonprofit organization that delivers business development programs designed to bridge the gap between entrepreneurship and equality, and maestra, a business strategy firm building a more socially conscious and equitable world. The program aims to support Black entrepreneurs that have used Fiverr’s platform to get started and are already a part of Fiverr’s growing community of small businesses.

Press Page 1 (2)

Research shows that Black entrepreneurs face financial hurdles not only when beginning their businesses, but as they attempt to navigate spaces that often don’t look like them and to which they have had little access historically. The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland found that Black entrepreneurs were 10% more likely to apply for financial startup assistance than their white counterparts, yet they were 19% less likely to be approved. White entrepreneurs have an edge over their Black counterparts because, for every $100 in white family wealth, Black families hold just $5.04. That same sentiment is what drives many Black sellers on Fiverr. 54% come to the platform hoping to make a sustainable, permanent living primarily on Fiverr – more likely than their White and Latinx seller counterparts. Fiverr hopes to be a part of helping to close that gap and countless others.

“Fiverr’s purpose is to provide anyone, no matter their race, religion, background or beliefs, the opportunity to build their business, brand or dreams. Therefore, it is incumbent upon us to use our platform and resources in pursuit of this purpose,” said Micha Kaufman, CEO of Fiverr. “Yes, the world has seen an outpouring of support for Black owned businesses in the past year, however, there is still so much work to be done. We are thrilled to be able to support these incredible five businesses with the funding, mentoring, and training that they deserve and can’t wait to watch them continue to grow and succeed through this program.”

The five businesses that have been selected as Fiverr’s inaugural class of Future Collective fellows are:

  • Appdrop – software for empowering non-technical teams to build mobile apps without writing a single line of code.
  • Budget Collector – provides an artificial intelligence (AI) art adviser as a mobile app. The company supports the development of private art collections as well as galleries and provides resources for potential and current art collectors.
  • De L’or Cakery – a 5-star artisan cake catering company using top notch ingredients, many imported directly from the Caribbean to provide outstanding flavors.
  • Hey Girl Hey – a social bonding game created by sisters, Seanice and Sharina Clarke, Hey Girl Hey is a card game built to foster community connections among black women, featuring unexpected and entertaining prompts and challenges.
  • Keeyahri – a luxury women’s shoe brand inspired by founder and artistic director Keya Martin’s favorite architecture around the world. Keeyahri aims to help women feel confident through unique designs.

Each of the Future Collective fellows will receive $24K in funding from Fiverr, guaranteed placement in an accelerator program organized and orchestrated by 1863 Ventures and regular mentorship and guidance from Fiverr’s senior management team. The structure of the program will consist of monthly cohort sessions, assigned online materials to review and complete coupled with regular coaching sessions. The fellows will also have access to 1863 Ventures’ weekly entrepreneur webinar sessions, allowing them to participate in sessions they find relevant to their business and growth.

“Now, more than ever, it is time to double down on our support of Black entrepreneurs. Over the past few years, roughly 20% of Black Americans have engaged in early-stage entrepreneurship, but their businesses struggle to advance along the entrepreneurial pathway,” said Melissa Bradley, Managing Director of 1863 Ventures. “If Black businesses reached economic parity with non-black businesses, their revenues would increase by approximately $5.9 trillion and create more than 19 million more jobs. 1863 Ventures is proud to be leading the charge in providing the necessary resources, capital, and programmatic support to break down barriers for Black businesses. We are excited to be working with Fiverr and maestra to make this new fellowship one of a kind and accomplish economic parity for these businesses.”

“While white adults have 13 times the wealth that Black adults do, when we compare median wealth of Black and white business owners, the median wealth gap decreases to a multiplier of three,” said De’Ara Balenger, Co-Founder of maestra. “Through this effort and more like it, we believe that we can work towards building Black generational wealth and supporting Black entrepreneurship.”

About Fiverr

Fiverr’s mission is to change how the world works together. Since 2010, the Fiverr platform has been at the forefront of the future of work connecting businesses of all sizes with skilled freelancers offering digital services in more than 500 categories, across 9 verticals including graphic design, digital marketing, programming, video and animation. In the twelve months ended June 30, 2021, 4.0 million customers bought a wide range of services from freelancers across more than 160 countries. We invite you to become part of the future of work by visiting us at fiverr.com, read our blog and follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Contacts

Abby Forman

press@fiverr.com

Stephen Crawford Business Exit Strategy Coach OutBuro lgbt professional entreprenuer networking online community gay lesbian transgender queer bisexual nonbinary

An Exit Strategy is a MUST have to Grow Your Business

In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Stephen Crawford a Business Coach who focuses on the end game.  

Stephen Crawford throughout his career has been a teacher and/or coach in some manner. For the bulk of his career, he was a vocal coach helping his clients and students be pitch-perfect while performing and guiding their careers. He has owned two successful vocal studios and has clients who have gone on to reach prestigious positions.  

01:10 Stephen’s background in music and vocal coaching

07:00 How vocal coaching relates to business coaching/consulting

09:50 It’s all about mindset

10:50 Stephen provides an overview of how he works with small business owners

12:30 Stephen shares examples of what business owners have lost by not having an exit strategy when unexpected emergencies force them to close their business

15:00 Exit strategy for business growth

17:30 Document your processes – even if you are a baker, document recipes so all things are repeatable by others

19:00 Stephen shares information about the methods and their profit accelerator business survey that covers 40 areas of a business

22:50 Stephen provides a prioritized approach so that business owners can incrementally work on what is the most important and growth-oriented

25:30 In the past you may have hired a coach and didn’t get the actionable results desired. Stephen’s tools provide actionable prioritized reports and guidance.

29:00 Stephen assists professionals with their webinars, presentation, and public speaking game. We further discuss how business owners should leverage video and audio to promote their knowledge, products, and services in an informational way.

Stephen focuses on the end game of what the client is wanting to achieve and then works systematically with them to help them shift their mindset to remove the stumbling blocks that are holding them back. Stephen has taken his past and realized his skills, knowledge, passion, and expertise can help small businesses. He launched Infinite Symmetry Business Strategies as an independent small business consulting agency under a national Business Services company that provides a researched methodology to structure his consulting practice with tools and resources.    

One of those tools is a comprehensive business survey that helps Stephen and the business owner uncover underdeveloped or missing core business structures, processes, marketing channels, and key business documents. There are over 40 areas of insights in this survey and its personalized report. From completing it, along with the businesses owners’ stated goals, Stephen can then make prioritized recommendations.   

In our conversation, Stephen provided an example of how a business owner due to a family unexpected health issue had to sell her business. She was not prepared and basically had to walk away from all her years of working to build and sustain it. Had she previously worked with Stephen, gotten prepared with the legal documents, documented business processes, a growth plan, a solid marketing plan, insurances, clear accounting, and an exit strategy, she would have been in a much better place financially and emotionally.  

Having a business exit strategy is not just a single document. Think of it as an athlete whose goal is to compete in the Olympics.  Writing on a piece of paper, “I want to compete in the Olympics” is great. But it won’t get you there. An effective business exit strategy relies on all the areas of the business to be strong, documented thoroughly, and in place right now.  Waiting until you need or want to exit is likely too late.

Do you think you are leaving your business to your child/ren?  Have they worked in the business long enough to know how it fully operates? A great exercise would be to have them assist in the forming of the exit strategy. As they assist in process documentation and all the other aspects they’ll gain a fuller knowledge and understanding along with being able to contribute to some of the decision makings.  Having an exit strategy also prepares a business to raise capital from investors or secure a good business loan.    

www.infinitesymmetrybusinessstrategies.com 

www.infinitesymmetrysymmetrycoaching.com  

You owe it to yourself to have your business as strong and ready as it can be.  Reach out to Stephen today to set up an initial conversation.  

To connect with Stephen you can find him on OutBüro here. https://outburo.com/profile/stephengetsmorecash4u/  Join us on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online networking community for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies, and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality-focused benefits, policies, and business practices.  https://www.OutBuro.com  

Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco.  https://outburo.com/recommend-a-guest/

New Partnership With Black Future Co-op Fund, UW Foster, and Bank of America Invests in Washington Black-Led Businesses and Nonprofits

SEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The Black Future Co-op Fund, University of Washington Foster School of Business’ Consulting and Business Development Center (CBDC), and Bank of America today announced a new partnership to build generational sustainability of Black-led businesses and nonprofits across Washington state.

BAC logo (standard)

“Black businesses and organizations have long been vital contributors to Washington state, yet purposeful and persistent anti-Blackness has undermined their opportunity to thrive,” says Angela Jones, J.D., Fund architect and Washington STEM CEO. “Through this partnership, we’re intentionally investing in Black well-being and building the infrastructure for generational wealth.”

With support from the Black Future Co-op Fund and a $500,000 grant from Bank of America, the CBDC is working with Black-led businesses and organizations across Washington to provide tailored technical assistance, leadership development training, financial management guidance, and help accessing funding.

“The CBDC was founded 26 years ago by the first Black tenured faculty member at the Foster School and the first Black Dean of the Foster School,” said Frank Hodge, Orin and Janet Smith Endowed Dean of the UW Foster School of Business. “This partnership with the Black Future Co-op Fund and Bank of America will enable us to take the next big step in removing systemic barriers and creating opportunities for wealth creation in Black-owned businesses. The initiative also brings crucial support to Black-led organizations that are leading powerful work to enrich Black generational prosperity and well-being.”

A recent listening tour conducted by the Black Future Co-op Fund identified more than 500 Black-owned business and Black-led organizations across Washington, and found at least 65 of identified businesses have closed in the last six months.

The Fund interviewed Black business owners who shared they have been hard hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and resulting economic recession. Most are under-resourced and operating with little to no profit margin. Black-owned businesses also face significant hurdles accessing resources, such as small business grants, loans, or lines of credit, or culturally informed technical assistance.

While Black small business owners in particular have been disproportionally impacted during the pandemic, recent research from Bank of America based on a national survey of 300 Black business owners found those still in operation remained resilient and flexible as they navigated through an evolving and uncertain business landscape. In response to the impacts from the pandemic, 48% of Black entrepreneurs reported retooling their operations – double that of the national average. However, Black business owners have overcome numerous obstacles with 82% reporting that they have worked harder to achieve success than their non-Black counterparts.

In response to the Black community’s feedback, this partnership is working to build the kind of support that will bolster Black prosperity over generations.

As part of this initiative, CBDC is expanding its board fellows program. Black graduate students at the UW will be matched with Black-led nonprofits for a 9-month board placement, bringing new skills and building the next generation of Black nonprofit board leaders.

Artists in Activism in Snohomish County and Takeall Foundation in Spokane are two of the Black-led organizations recently paired with graduate students. Both organizations are also working with the CBDC to strengthen their financial management and operations through the newly-formed partnership.

“Pervasive economic and social disparities only intensified during the global health crisis, and we see a clear and urgent need for intentional investment in and resources directed to Black businesses and nonprofit organizations,” said Jeremey Williams, market executive, Bank of America Seattle. “This investment is a further demonstration of Bank of America’s commitment to build local partnerships that help foster job creation, economic growth, and stability for Black-led Washington businesses that contribute so much to our community and economy.”

Bank of America’s contribution is aligned to the company’s $1.25-billion, five-year commitment to advance racial equality and economic opportunity. This commitment builds on steps the company has already taken, including program support for nonprofit community partners and lending assistance for small and minority-owned businesses through community development financial and minority depository institutions. Bank of America also recently increased its goal for equity investments in minority-focused funds to $350 million, including an equity investment in Portland-based Elevate Capital, which will put capital to work supporting minority and women entrepreneurs with early-stage funding across the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

ABOUT THE BLACK FUTURE CO-OP FUND

Created by and for Black Washingtonians, the Black Future Co-op Fund is a new paradigm for philanthropy to ignite Black wealth, health, and well-being over generations. Through intentional investment, the Fund works to connect Black communities for collective power, promote a truthful Black narrative, and uplift Black-led solutions that foster Black generational prosperity. For more, visit: blackfuturewa.org.

ABOUT UW FOSTER CONSULTING AND BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT CENTER

UW Foster is a world-class business school in a pioneering city perched on the Pacific Rim. The world’s best and brightest leaders are here, applying ingenuity to better humanity. The Consulting and Business Development Center, now in its 26th year, advances student careers and grows businesses and jobs in communities where they’re needed the most with a core focus on supporting the growth of businesses owned by people of color. For more, visit: foster.uw.edu/consult.

ABOUT BANK OF AMERICA

At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at about.bankofamerica.com, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).

Contacts

Kara Palmer, Pyramid Communications (for the Black Future Co-op Fund)
206.948.9822 (mobile)
kpalmer@pyramidcommunications.com

Andrew Krueger, UW Foster
206.697.1073 (mobile)
krueger6@uw.edu

Britney Sheehan, Bank of America
425.466.0378 (mobile)
britney.w.sheehan@bofa.com

OutBuro Voices 1-28 Lorenzo Thione Gaingels LGBTQ Startup investing financial funding investor gay entrepreneur

Lorenzo Thione: Out Gay Entrepreneur, Venture Investor & Broadway Producer

In this episode of OutBüro Voices featuring LGBTQ professionals, entrepreneurs, and community leaders from around the world, host Dennis Velco chats with Lorenzo Thione, Managing Director of Gaingles (https://www.gaingels.com), an LGTQ equality centric venture capital syndicate.

Lorenzo is a serial out gay entrepreneur, venture capitalist, writer, Broadway producer, and LGBTQ non-profit founder. Born and raised in Italy, he moved to the United States to attend college in Texas focusing on computational linguistic artificial intelligence. He co-founded his first start-up business right out of college and it’s been the entrepreneur’s path ever since.

Lorenzo Thione Gaingels LGBTQ entrpreneur out gay business venture capital investor OutBuro

Thione is the Managing Producer of Sing Out, Louise! Productions, the co-founder and CEO of The Social Edge, and a Managing Director at Gaingels (https://www.gaingels.com), a venture investment group based in NYC focused on investing and supporting LGBT+ founded/led startups, and socially responsible companies focused on supporting LGBTQ equality. In addition to his work as an entrepreneur, technologist and venture investor, Lorenzo is the co-creator/co-book writer and the lead producer of Allegiance, the 2015 Broadway musical starring George Takei and Lea Salonga. In developing Allegiance, he developed and deployed social-media viral strategies that led to the astounding growth and unprecedented awareness and audience engagement for both George Takei and Allegiance’s social media platforms, and – in turn – to the founding of The Social Edge, a social media management and marketing firm based in NYC. His producing credits include The Inheritance, Slave Play, Hadestown (Tony Award), Cher Show, The New One, Catch Me If You Can (Tony Nomination), and American Idiot. Additional IMDB credits: George Takei’s Allegiance (Director, Executive Producer), Bandstand – The Boys Are Back (Director, Executive Producer), Allegiance To Broadway (Executive Producer).

Lorenzo Thione Gaingels LGBTQ entrpreneur out gay business venture capital investor OutBuro

Besides being an active investor in the LGBT+ startup ecosystem via his position in Gaingels, Lorenzo is a founding board member and Chair Emeritus of StartOut, a non-profit organization dedicated to fostering and developing entrepreneurship within the LGBT community. A native of Milan, Italy, Lorenzo holds an M.S. in Computer Engineering from the University of Texas at Austin and has co-authored several publications in Software Engineering and Computational Linguistics. He is an active investor, advisor, or board member, in over 80+ startups and a named inventor on over 30 pending and issued patents in the US and worldwide.

  • 01:45 Lorenzo Thione provides a brief introduction
  • 01:50 Introduction to StartOut
  • 03:30 Introduction to Gaingles, the largest LGBTQ focused venture capital syndicate
  • 05:50 The journey to entrepreneurism
  • 08:30 Entrepreneurism is not a passion. It is a disease.
  • 10:30 Surround yourself with a support network11:00 Having a co-founder(s) can balance and round out the experience
  • 11:30 Parinoid-optimist and projecting the reality you desire
  • 13:00 Perception is reality
  • 14:30 Failure is an experience of learning
  • 15:30 Mentors and Peers
  • 16:30 Ways to be involved with Gaingles
  • 17:00 Description of companies Gainles invests in today as a venture syndicate through venture lead rounds: (1) LGBTQ owned (founders), (2) LGBTQ leaders in C-suite, (3) LGBTQ equality value-aligned companies
  • 22:30 How social responsibility investing positively impact companies with an example of a negative impact with business reputation and customer trust lead to reduced financial performance
  • 23:45 Gaingels has grown from investing about $4-million 4 years ago to about $20-million in 2019 and just surpassed $50-million in investments in this year (2020) alone.
  • 24:00 Is there any chance companies are using Gaingels as window dressings like Pinkwashing investing?
  • 32:00 Early stages mean greater impact
  • 35:00 Lorenzo’s tip for LGBTQ startups

Connect with Lorenzo on OutBüro at: https://www.outburo.com/profile/lorenzothione/

Join Lorenzo on OutBüro, the LGBTQ professional and entrepreneur online community network for gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, queer, allies and our employers who support LGBTQ welcoming workplace equality focused benefits, policies, and business practices. https://www.OutBuro.com

Would you like to be featured like this? Contact the host Dennis Velco. https://www.outburo.com/profile/dennisvelco/

New Jersey LGBT Chamber of Commerce Business Owner Access to Capital Event - LGBT Employees Rate Employer Review Company Employee Branding OutBuro - Corporate Workplace Equality Gay Lesbian Queer Diversity Inclusion

NJ LGBT Chamber: “Business Owner Access to Capital Event”

The New Jersey LGBT Chamber of Commerce and TD Bank Partner to Support LGBTQ+ and Allied Business Owners

TD Bank Supports NJ LGBT Chamber of Commerce Entrepreneur Seek Business Funding Loans Venture Capital Investments Gay Lesbian Community

The New Jersey LGBT Chamber of Commerce in partnership with TD Bank is proud to host an “Access to Capital” event to help support business owners throughout New Jersey.  Steven Garibell, Vice President of Business Development for the LGBTQ2+ Community at TD Bank will be hosting the workshop to help business owners identify their company’s financial status, future financial needs, and what financing options are available to them. Light refreshments will be served and time will be built in for attendees to network with fellow professionals.

NJ New Jersey LGBT Chamber of Commerce OutBuro GLBT Business Owners Entrepreneurs Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Community Network

The NJ LGBT Chamber of Commerce serves to connect LGBTQ+ and allied business owners and professionals with the resources they need to succeed while also to connecting them with New Jersey’s LGBTQ+ community at large. For more information, visit njlgbtchamber.org/.

“TD Bank has a long-standing commitment to our small business community,” says Garibell. “By working with organizations such as the NJ LGBT Chamber, we are able to bring our Small Business WOW! Zone classes to small business owners in diverse communities. Our work will help LGBT Business Enterprises ® gain greater access to capital thereby strengthening the communities they serve.”

As an affiliate of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC), the NJ LGBT Chamber offers LGBT Business Enterprise Certification ® as benefit of membership with the organization. Certified LGBTBEs are routinely sought after by over 250 NGLCC Corporate Partners who are looking to increase their spend with the LGBT business community. Certified LGBTBEs are also eligible for scholarship programs, mentorship and leadership training, and other business development tools following one year.

“LBGT Business owners generate over $1.7 trillion in economic impact (per NGLCC’s groundbreaking America’s LGBT Economy Report), create jobs and innovate business solutions nationwide,” says NJ LGBT Chamber of Commerce Board Member, Stephen Blazejewski. “We actively seek to work with corporate partners like TD Bank to host educational events that are critical in ensuring professional success for our Members and Future Members throughout the state of New Jersey.”

On May 1, the Business Owner Access to Capital event will take place at TD Bank’s Jersey City Branch;  125 18th St, Jersey City, NJ from 6-8 p.m.

Interested attendees should RSVP here. Questions related to the event can be emailed to Stephen@njlgbtchamber.org

About NJ LGBT Chamber of Commerce: The NJ LGBT Chamber of Commerce is New Jersey’s only LGBTQ business organization dedicated to strengthening LGBT businesses in the New Jersey tri-state area. The New Jersey LGBT Chamber of Commerce increases the economic staying-power of its members and allies and facilitates successful business collaboration. We are a platform for business visionaries, and the first stop for LGBT entrepreneurs and allies seeking to advance and access opportunity and resources. Join the New Jersey LGBT Chamber of Commerce to connect, collaborate & leverage business opportunities. For more information, please visit http://njlgbtchamber.org or connect with the NJ LGBT Chamber of Commerce on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

How to Raise Money for Your LGBT Owned Business: Part II

So you’ve prepared yourself for the task of raising money in Part I of this guide – but now what? You’ll need to look at all the options to see which one suits your small business. So what are the best, most realistic ways to get funding?

Eight ways to raise funds

The traditional ways to raise money were through personal savings, bank loans, or retirement funds. But now there’s a much wider range of possible finance sources for your new business. So which type of funding is right for you?

1 Personal saving or retirement funds

If you have some savings you could use them to finance your business. The advantage here is you shouldn’t have to pay interest on the money and you won’t have an obligation to anyone else.

Using retirement funds is another option. It may be possible for you to draw down funds from your 401(k) to put into your business.

Regulations vary between countries, so you’ll need to consult a financial adviser to see what’s permitted. Be sure to check the tax implications of using personal savings or retirement funds for business purposes.

2 Bank loans and credit

Banks can be useful sources of funding, but the loans or credit they provide will usually have to be secured. That means you’ll have to offer something of value as collateral. This could be your house, or your company’s inventory or accounts receivable ledger.

If you fail to repay the loan, the bank may then take your collateral. That could mean you have to sell your house or stock or lose your income. So it’s not a transaction to enter into lightly.

Banks can offer the following funding services to help your company grow:

  • Loans
    These provide a specific amount of credit to purchase assets or meet financing needs. The loan is repaid based on a predetermined schedule or through monthly principal and interest payments. Interest rates are usually fixed for the life of the loan.
  • Lines of credit or business overdrafts
    These tend to be used for periodic financing. You can borrow up to your credit limit whenever needed.
  • Equipment financing
    Buying equipment can be a good option if you expect it to have a long, useful life. You may also benefit from financial advantages such as depreciation and tax deductions.
  • Real estate loans (mortgages)
    These are loans for purchasing land or commercial property.
  • Vehicle financing
    This is usually for buying or leasing commercial vehicles such as trucks or company cars.

The authority to lend to businesses has become centralized in some countries. This leaves branch bank managers with less power than they had in the past. But you’re still more likely to be given a loan if you have an existing account with the bank since they can easily check your past financial record.

3 Credit card loans

Loans from credit card companies are usually unsecured, which means you won’t lose your house if you fail to repay the loan (though you could still be declared bankrupt).

However, the lack of collateral is reflected in the price. Credit card loans can have a higher interest rate than other types of loans ­which are often much higher.

Ask yourself if your business can afford the interest rate being charged. If your company’s profit margin is forecast to be 10% and the credit card interest rate is 15%, the numbers might not add up.

4 Government grants and small business loans

Many governments offer grants and loans to small businesses, either directly or through publicly­ funded organizations such as small business associations.

The available funds and the terminology will vary depending on the country you’re in. Small business loans, micro­loans, and research grants are often available for different types of business.

Your first step should be to contact small business organizations near you since they will help administer government loans and grants. Talk to them and find out what financial assistance is available.

5 Venture capitalists and angel investors

Venture capitalist (VC) organizations became more prominent during the late 1990s dotcom boom, and the technology field is still one of their preferred areas of operation. VCs tend to favor high ­risk and high­ reward companies that have significant growth potential.

It’s a gamble for them, but the pay­offs can be significant. They usually demand significant equity in the company in return for funding, so be prepared to hand over a large percentage of ownership if you go down the VC route.

Angel investors are similar to VCs but they tend to work with companies that are at an earlier stage of development. The money comes from wealthy individuals, usually in exchange for convertible debt or ownership. A recent trend is for angel investors to participate in groups, working together on research, investment capital, and advice.

Venture capitalists and angel investors will want you to answer the following questions in detail:

  • How many customers do you have today and how do you plan to grow?
  • When and how will your business be profitable?
  • Who are the leaders in the company and what is their experience?

Don’t be surprised if any funding deal includes side­lining you as executive manager or director. The VC or angel investor may not think you have the skills and experience to grow the company and repay their investment. If this is the case, they could want to replace you with someone who does.

6 Crowdfunding

Crowdfunding means getting finance from a large pool of backers. Instead of asking just one or two people for money, you can ask thousands or even millions. People pledge money in return for perks and rewards when your project goes ahead, and usually, this is done online. Crucially, crowdfunding sites use an all­-or-nothing funding model – either the funding goal is reached, or the project gets nothing.

Before you look at this as an option, make sure you get expert legal advice about your country’s jurisdiction on crowdfunding.

If you are able to use crowdfunding, it offers an alternative to conventional funding, with less stringent credit checks, better-­informed investors, and often no need for collateral. And the funding process is often faster than it would be from a bank. This is a great option for some companies that will have struggled through the recession and have poor credit ratings as a result or others that are new and so have no credit record at all.

Crowdfunding can also provide useful feedback on your business plan. If you reach your funding goal, it’s a good indication that your plan has a realistic chance of success. If you don’t, you might need to rethink your plan.

Two of the most well­ known crowdfunding sites are Kickstarter and Indiegogo. The former is US ­focused while the latter is smaller but with more international support. If you want to use either of these crowdfunding sites, you’ll need to check that they’re available from your country.

For more about crowdfunding, here’s a list of 30 people you might want to follow.

7 Peer-­to-peer lenders

Similar to crowdfunding sites, peer­-to-peer­ (P2P) lenders match borrowers and lenders directly. This is usually done via online auctions and without going through a traditional financial institution like a bank.

The rates can therefore be more favorable to both sides. Borrowers tend to pay less than bank lending rates, while lenders get a higher (though more risky) return on their savings.

While crowdfunding provides finance for new businesses or specific projects, peer­-to-peer­ lending can be used for more general purposes.

It works a lot like eBay. You post the amount you need on a peer­-to-peer­ lending site, along with the maximum interest rate you’re willing to pay. Lenders can then choose how much to lend to you, and at what rate. Examples include Prosper in the US and Zopa in the UK.

Again, like crowdfunding, the jurisdiction in your country may prevent you from using P2P lending, so make sure you get legal advice before proceeding.

8 Friends and family

It can be tempting for you to borrow money from friends and family, but it can also go badly wrong. There’s a simple psychological reason for that. Relationships are based on emotions, while business is (or should be) based on rational decisions. The two rarely mix well.

If you have a strong relationship with the friend or family member from whom you plan to borrow from, this can be a low ­cost source of finance for your business. But it can create an emotional liability as well as a financial one. This is the case particularly if you borrow from people who don’t have much business experience.

If you do decide to borrow from friends or family, have a clearly ­written legal document explaining your agreement. That way, if there are any problems later on, at least you’ll both have something in writing to refer to.

Adapt to the current financial climate

Banks are cautious about lending to small businesses at the moment. One reason for this is because they’re rebuilding the capital they lost during the financial crisis. In addition to this, many of them don’t understand the business models of some newer companies. They also tend to be more focused on real­ estate lending, because the collateral is tangible and fixed.

But low-interest rates around the world mean that many cash-­rich organizations and individuals are chasing yield. If you can present a compelling business plan, you stand a good chance of getting funding from less conventional sources.

Do your research to get the best option

Crowdfunding, peer­-to-peer lending, government grants and loans, venture capitalists, angel investors, and more offer plenty of possibilities. In fact, the funding landscape is changing all the time. For example, companies such as Kabbage offer working capital advances based on real­-time business metrics.

Do your homework and use good quality accounting software to test out different financial scenarios, to see what funding your business really needs. Then compare the risks and benefits of the choice. Steer clear of disreputable lenders and make sure you understand the implications for your business. When you take your time and investigate all the funding options thoroughly, you’ll find one that’s right for your business.

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How to Raise Money for Your LGBT Owned Business: Part I

Starting a new business can be expensive, so it makes sense to seriously consider investment options right from the beginning. However, first you’ll need to be well prepared for the obligation that comes with getting funding, the questions to ask, and the small print to consider. So how can you prepare for this?

Challenges faced by small businesses starting out

Some businesses can be launched without much capital. For example, if you’re planning to provide remote services while working as a sole proprietor, you may need nothing more than a laptop and an internet connection.

But other types of businesses need money to get started. If you intend to launch a business that needs significant capital expenditure (such as a retail or manufacturing business or a company that employs several other people), you won’t get far without initial funding.

Seven questions to be ready to answer

Whoever lends you money will want to know you’re serious about investing it to grow your business. They will also want to know that you’ll be able to pay back the loan principal and the interest.

Make sure you have the answers to these important questions at your fingertips when talking to a potential investor:

  1. How much money do you want to raise?
  2. Will you be able to provide any collateral? What are your assets?
  3. Are you looking for debt, equity or other financing?
  4. How is your business credit rating? You can check this yourself in many countries.
  5. How is your personal credit rating? This too ­– and yes, the banks will check.
  6. How long have you been in business?
  7. What is your revenue?

Use professional accounting software to prepare charts and forecasts of your costs and revenue. This will help convince lenders that you have a solid business plan in place.

Always read the fine print

The terms and conditions of most loan agreements include the option for the lender to call in the loan at any time. That means the lender can ask for all their money back, with little or no notice, and regardless of whether you’ve been paying on time up to that point.

This doesn’t happen often, but when it does it can be devastating. Unfortunately it happens most often during recessions, when banks and other lenders become more nervous about the likelihood their loans won’t be repaid.

This is just one reason why you should read the fine print of any loan agreement carefully. Get legal advice if necessary, and work with your accountant or financial planner to determine how much you can safely borrow. Make sure you understand all the terms of the loan before you sign.

Understand the cost of investment

When raising money for your business, you’re unlikely to get something for nothing. Your investors will want something from you in return for risking their funds:

  • For bank or credit card loans
    The cost to you is the interest rate and the risk of losing any collateral you’ve put up.
  • For angel investors and venture capitalists
    The cost is usually a percentage of ownership or control of your company.
  • For crowdsourced funds
    It’s whatever you’ve pledged to deliver in exchange for the money raised.
  • For friends and family
    It could be any of the above plus the risk of ruining a good relationship if things go wrong.

In other words, getting funding creates an obligation. It means you have a responsibility to make the most of the money you’ve been given.

That might seem like a challenge, but on the plus side it can help you to focus on your business and concentrate on making it a success.

Once you have the money, make it work for you. Use good quality accounting software to keep track of the amount you’ve borrowed, what you use it for and how much you pay back over time. Read Part II of this guide for eight ways you can raise funds for your small business.

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