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Startup capital and microloans

Posted by Michael Bloch in online world (Tuesday July 24, 2007 )

When you see the millions of dollars in grants, venture capital and loans floating around for online ventures, it can get pretty frustrating if just a few thousand dollars stands between you and your online dreams.

If you’re in this situation and even your own bank won’t help you out – and you’re really not keen to deal with a guy named Vinny who wants to charge you 25% interest and being a day late in repayments would likely be a life threatening situation; perhaps microloans may be the answer for you.

Microloans originated in developing countries; allowing severely disadvantaged people to gain finance at low interest rates for developing small businesses. Organizations providing microloans are usually non-profit groups who not only offer cash to budding entrepreneurs, but also business mentoring. The microloans concept has now spread to developed countries, where people can borrow $500 to $35,000 in order to establish a new business, buy a business or grow an existing one.

Accion USA, part of Accion International is one of the major players – offering loan terms for up to 5 years and interest rates as low as 10% – with approval usually within 2-3 weeks.

The US government run Small Business Administration also offers microloans through nonprofit community based lenders (intermediaries); although I’ve read the process can be excrutiating at times.

Count Me In is a national not-for-profit provider of micro loans and business education for women entrepreneurs.

I’m sure there’s other microloan providers in the USA – if you know of any, or in other countries for that matter, please share your knowledge below!

By the way, you’ll still need a formal business plan to present to microlenders, there’s no escaping that – but developing a business plan isn’t as daunting as it sounds and it’s a very valuable excercise :). I offer a brief overview of developing a plan and a free basic business plan template here.



 

 
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