Funding For Business - What Women Need To Know

If you are a woman and have a great business idea you may be excited about starting your business, but where do you start in raising investment?  

As a woman looking to fund a start-up or put money into an existing business, finding ways to raise funds can be that little bit harder. Some still think it's a man's world and many women also have the challenges of juggling family life, caring for children and perhaps elderly parents with running a business. We are often time and maybe cash poor but have the business ideas and just want to put them into reality. 

So let's have a look at some of the main ways to fund a business and what women need to know to get a cash injection. 

Grants



If you live in the UK, there are a number of grants available, let's have a look a some of them.

If you are under the age of 30 the Prince's Trust could help you with funding a start-up. Their enterprise programme has helped over 86,000 young people start their own business. If you are unemployed the New Enterprise Allowance Scheme can help you access over £2000 worth of support. If you are a woman in the technology sector there are a couple of female-specific awards available such as the Women Startup Challenge Europe and from the Anita Borg Institute For Women. In fact, there are many grants that are locality or sector-specific and I would suggest you look at the sector you are in and the locality to search for options for these.

Loans


There are a number of small business loans for women available. Small business loans are particularly useful if you can't access grants or other funding. 

Loans can be particularly useful if you need to raise the cash urgently. Loans are available from banks and other financial institutions but also from the government too. Some banks may have special provision for women business owners so it's worth asking. There may be specific start-up loans available, so if you are a start-up look into this and do your research. When applying for a business loan, be sure to have a concise and clear business plan, detailing your potential outgoings and potential incomings. If you have an existing business show your financial records. Show how you can pay the loan back and you should be in with a good chance of accessing a loan.

Angel investing


An angel investor will invest in a business with their own money, which they see as potentially profitable and in turn, take shares in the business. 

An advantage of an investor like this is that they often share their business knowledge, help and acumen. They will often give you input to help their investment grow.  They may invest alone or as part of a bigger group. It is estimated that angel investors in the UK invest over 1.5 billion per annum and there are over 18,000 angel investors in the UK. To find an angel investor check out the UK Angel Business Association. Some investors may look for women in particular so check out who they invest in. 

Crowdfunding


Crowdfunding to raise money for a business is usually done through an online platform. You ask people for small amounts of money, either for a donation or for something in return like a product you sell or shares in the business.

Crowdfunding is a new way of finding investment for your business idea.  If you are crowdfunding there are different types. People invest in crowdfunding for various reasons including for a return in their investment because they believe in the project or cause. You are more likely to get crowdfunding if you have an engaged audience or community behind you. 

Friends and family



Another way in which business can raise funding is through friends and family.

Asking friends and family for a loan though is not without its risks. Be sure you have some form of documentation showing how much was lent, any interest and terms to avoid complications later. Ensure you treat them like any other lender and do not take them for granted or it could affect your relationship. 

So as you can see from loans to angel investments there are a lot of ways in which you can raise money for a business. There are also some ways of financing your business aimed at women and it's worth seeking them out.

*Collaborative post

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