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Small Business Funding

5 Small Business Financing Options to Scale Your Business

When it comes to starting a business, capital access becomes one major, if not the biggest, concern. In fact, most Hello Alice temp checks have found access to capital is the number one dilemma among small businesses, with 89% of small business owners claiming lack of capital access limits their businesses’ growth. So what small business financing options are there for fledgling operations with scant resources? What is Business Financing? First, what exactly do we mean when we say “business financing”? Simply put, it’s any sort of money an owner acquires from outside of sales to use in the support of their business — opening a credit card to pay for operation costs or taking out a loan to fund a marketing initiative, for example. Challenges in Small Business Financing Let’s be real: financing isn’t fair. Credit and bank lenders have a history of discrimination and credit scores themselves are often regarded as antiquated and biased measures of financial worthiness.  When Hello Alice polled small business owners, 50% had a personal credit score of 680 or better — strong enough to apply for most business credit cards — yet did not qualify for a business loan, which typically requires a score of 720 or better. On top of this, 49% of Black business owners who applied for financing in the last 12 months reported that none of their applications were approved. With all of these systemic factors working against small business owners, what options are there and how can we break through the barriers? Types of Small Business Financing While many types of funding options for small businesses exist, some are more reliable and attainable than others. At the start of 2022, 62% of small business owners planned to apply for financing, which includes: LoansCredit cardsLines of creditGrantsInvestors Keep reading to find out more about each type of financing small businesses can choose. 1. Loans If you’re in the market for a small-business bank loan, you’ll discover several types you can apply for, all with their own sets of qualification criteria. Some loan types include: Traditional term loanSecured loanSBA loanVehicle loan Commercial real estate loan Just remember, small business loans must be repaid and interest adds up. Be sure not to borrow a loan amount more than you need in order to avoid an excess of interest payments in the long run. To learn more about loans and what it takes to get one, check out our guides Secure a Bank Loan and Secure a Loan From a Nonprofit Microlender. For easily attainable loans, check out our Funding Center to explore options for your business. 2. Credit Cards Many early-stage entrepreneurs may not qualify for more traditional forms of startup capital — such as bank loans. In that case, business credit cards may be a good way to go. Just remember to use your credit responsibly and pay attention to added costs and high interest rates. Exploring rewards programs can set your business up to earn cashback or other benefits for standard business spending.  Dive into our Select the Right Credit Card guide to determine the right credit card option for you. 3. Line of Credit Although credit cards and lines of credit overlap, they’re not quite the same thing. While a credit cards provides direct access to a line of credit, not all lines of credit are associated with cards, i.e., all credit cards are lines of credit but not all lines of credit are credit cards. Often, the APR on a line of credit is lower than on a credit card, and lines of credit tend to have a higher credit limit. The downside? Lines of credit don’t have the same rewards programs as credit cards. Examples include: Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC)Securities-Backed Line of Credit (SBLOC)Personal Lines of CreditDemand Lines of CreditBusiness Lines of Credit 4. Grants The closest you’ll get to free money, grants, depending on the type, require a service rendered or simply an application in exchange for capital. The only catch with grants? Locating them and determining eligibility.  But that effort is worth it: when Hello Alice polled small business grant recipients, 96% reported grants were “very or extremely helpful” to the viability of their businesses. And to make things a bit easier, Hello Alice tracks down grants for you. To explore grants and their application requirements, check out Hello Alice Grant Opportunities to see collated grant programs as well as Hello Alice partnership grants. 5. Investors Getting people to give you money sounds ideal, right? Just remember, when it comes to investor funding, it’s not quite free money. You’ll give up equity, or pieces of ownership, of your company in exchange for the investment funding you raise. Different types of investors are: angel investorsventure capitalpersonal investorspeer-to-peer lenders The various investors expect different details in the pitches they receive, as well as different amounts of equity and say in the operations of your business. To learn more about pitching investors, including how to do so without losing complete control of your small business, read through our guide in partnership with Silicon Valley Bank, Get Your Startup Ready to Fundraise. Final Thoughts Don’t let the different financing options overwhelm you. With a little research combined with a thorough knowledge of your business’ financial needs, you’ll be well on your way to gaining the capital your business needs to thrive. To read more about small business financing, check out the Small Business Funding section of the Hello Alice blog.
Jun 22, 2022 • 4 min read
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Small Business Funding

Announcing the BGE Energizing Small Business Grants Recipients

We’re proud to announce the recipients of the BGE Energizing Small Business Grants! What is the BGE Energizing Small Business Grants Program? BGE has pledged $15 million to assist Maryland’s small businesses with COVID-19 relief and recovery. With support and guidance from Hello Alice and the Global Entrepreneurship Network, BGE created the Energizing Small Business Grants program which provides recipients $20,000 grants. Hundreds of recipients have already been announced as part of the 2021 funding rounds! The BGE Energizing Small Business Grants Recipients To qualify for the first round of 2022 funding, Maryland-based, for-profit businesses had to be founded in or prior to 2020, be in good standing with the State of Maryland, have fewer than 25 employees, have a gross annual revenue of less than $7M for 2021, and be able to demonstrate a need for funding that supports their business and serves their customers. Congratulations to all BGE Energizing Small Business Grants recipients! Round 1 Grant Recipients, 2022 Round 3 Grant Recipients, 2021 Round 2 Grant Recipients, 2021 Round 1 Grant Recipients, 2021 For more small business funding opportunities and inspiration create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Jun 15, 2022 • < 1 min read
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Company Announcements

Now Announcing: The Local Business Support Fund Grant Recipients

We’re proud to announce the first round of recipients of the Local Business Support Fund grant program! What is the Local Business Support Fund? Hello Alice and the Global Entrepreneurship Network, in partnership with LISC,  are awarding $5,000 grants to five small businesses that provide solutions in their local communities. Along with generating less than $1M in annual revenue, these small businesses share a steadfast commitment to their customers and community, and a clear plan to use their grant funds! ”The funds from this grant will help launch our grassroots marketing campaign as we not only raise awareness of The Young Musician's University but also the importance and many benefits of music education," says recipient Tembi Gray of the GMG Performing Arts Center. The recipients listed below will receive a $5,000 grant. Congratulations to all these inspiring entrepreneurs! Local Business Support Fund Grant Recipients Tembi Gray GMG Performing Arts Center | Columbia, SC Kenneth Woods Refresherpoint | Clarksville, IN LaTeasha Gaither-Davis Therapeutic Focus | West Memphis, AR Virginia George Crafts & Drafts NC | Durham, NC Suzanne Daniels Brentwood Social House | Austin, TX Do you need funding for your small business? Visit the Hello Alice Funding Center to view our current grant programs and subscribe to the Hello Alice newsletter to stay up-to-date on future programs and funding opportunities. 
Jun 14, 2022 • < 1 min read
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Small Business Funding

Meet the Sonoma County Alliance Small Business Opportunity Fund Recipients

We’re proud to announce the recipients of the Sonoma County Alliance Small Business Opportunity Fund! What is the Sonoma County Alliance Small Business Opportunity Fund? The Sonoma County Alliance is a coalition of business, agriculture, labor, and individuals organized to encourage a healthy economy, maintain a sound environment, protect private property rights, and promote a responsive political process.  Understanding that raising capital or finding loans is one of the greatest challenges facing small business owners today, this multi-year small business grant program supports the rejuvenation and growth of the Sonoma County community, prioritizing business owners who traditionally lack access to capital. Grants between $1,000 and $5,000 will be awarded to local businesses looking to make a capital investment in their future. Sonoma County Alliance Small Business Opportunity Fund Recipients To qualify, for-profit businesses located in Sonoma County had to be in operation for at least a year and have fewer than 25 employees.  The recipients all have big plans and big dreams and know exactly how to use these funds to help their businesses grow. Congratulations to all recipients listed below. They'll each receive a grant between $1,000 and $5,000! Round 1 Recipients Ariel Coddington Bodega Country Store | Bodega, CA Ashlyn Elizabeth McLean Encore Dance Studio | Cloverdale, CA Gabriella Johnson Soul Work Healthcare | Santa Rosa, CA Joe Meisch Temple Massager | Cazadero, CA Roberta Ryan Ryan Design | Graton, CA Visit the Hello Alice Funding Center to view our current grant programs and subscribe to the Hello Alice newsletter to stay up-to-date on future programs and funding opportunities. 
Jun 10, 2022 • < 1 min read
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Small Business Funding

Antares REACH Grant Program to Award $20,000 Grants to Eligible Small Businesses

Big news for small businesses: Antares, Hello Alice and the Global Entrepreneurship Network have teamed up to provide funding for small business gearing up to grow. All you need to do is apply. What is the Antares REEACH Grant Program? The Antares REACH Grant Program will provide $20,000 grants to small businesses, with an emphasis on businesses preparing for their next stage of growth; operated by historically underrepresented entrepreneurs; and providing important community services.  Eligibility To be eligible, a business must: Be a for-profit business that is majority (51%) owned and/or operated by individuals who identify as New Majority (Womxn, People of Color, Military-affiliated, Persons with Disabilities, or LGBTQ+)Have less than $5 million USD in annual revenueHave a demonstrated need for supportHave a strong plan for moving forward.  For a full list of eligibility criteria, please see the terms and conditions. The Antares REACH Grant Program represents the intersection of connected charitable giving; community engagement; and deep commitment to diversity and inclusion.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=29&v=xRXzEGPCfjQ&feature=emb_logo How to Apply Visit the funding center to learn more about the program and apply for the grant today!
Jun 9, 2022 • < 1 min read
Small Business Funding

The Beyond Yoga For Women, BY Women Grant Recipients

We’re proud to announce the recipients of the Beyond Yoga For Women, BY Women grant and virtual coaching program.  What is the Beyond Yoga For Women, BY Women Grant and Virtual Coaching Program? This initiative provides 10 woman-owned companies with virtual coaching from Beyond Yoga executives and one grand prize of $10,000 plus mentorship from Michelle Wahler, co-founder of Beyond Yoga. Meet the Grand Prize Grant Recipient The recipient of the grand prize is Tonia Simone Holloway, registered nurse, herbalist, educator, and founder of The Beloved Bodies in Fayetteville, Georgia! Founded in 2018, her mission-driven, holistic healthcare business serves as a wellness hub and family resource to help marginalized communities, especially women, develop a healthy lifestyle and enrich their wellbeing. It also strives to partner with local clinics, schools, shelters, and organizations to provide health education, resources, and outreach to empower nearby underserved communities and increase their access to wellness services. How Tonia Will Use the Grant Tonia Simone plans to use the $10,000 to pour back into The Beloved Bodies’ community outreach initiatives and develop a private health portal. “I am thrilled to be the recipient of this grant and growth opportunity for my company!” she says. “With all that is going on in the world today, it’s even more imperative to take a real look at what thriving health and happiness means to you, and to start cultivating that experience in the real world, with self-sufficiency and sustainability in mind.” Other Recipients Along with Tonia Simone, nine more impressive recipients — all women entrepreneurs who are also in the first five years of their business and ready to make their mark on their communities — will now have the opportunity to work with leaders from Beyond Yoga to help them get to their next big milestone. Congratulations to these female founders! Check out the virtual coaching program awardees below, and visit the Small Business Funding Center to find more grant opportunities and lending options! Virtual Coaching Program Awardees Michelle El Khoury YOGAMAZIA | Richboro, PA  Cherlyn Hayes Beauty Beyond the Crown | McLean, VA Chaliyah Penick Penick Integrative Acupuncture | Pine Hill, NJ  Hallan Hanson Latchpad | Brooklyn, NY  Donnella Andraos I AM Movement | Irvine, CA   Sukie Jefferson Sukie's Candle Co. | Renton, WA   Alexis Russell Inspiring Experiences | Rochester, NY Bhavya Rai INELEGANCIES | Cary, NC   Desiree Gaitan-Buchanan POPLINEN | Burbank, CA For more small business grant opportunities create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Jun 6, 2022 • 2 min read
Small Business Funding

Announcing the KKR Small Business Builders Grant Program for Female Founders Grant Recipients

We’re proud to announce the recipients of the KKR Small Business Builders Grant Program for Female Founders grant program, presented in partnership with the Global Entrepreneurship Network and Hello Alice! What is the KKR Small Business Builders Grant Program? Launched in the early days of the pandemic, the program was created as a key pillar of KKR's COVID-19 Relief Effort with the goal of supporting small business owners around the world. Hundreds of owners have since been named recipients in Rounds 1–6 of the program! 2022 Female Founders Grant Recipients Now in Round 7, the program is investing in woman-identifying entrepreneurs, with an emphasis on New Majority owners who've pivoted their business in response to the pandemic and provide important community services.  These recipients share a commitment to serving their communities and furthering their missions, along with the tenacity it takes to navigate the path of entrepreneurship during challenging times. All recipients receive a $10,000 grant to help their small businesses recover and grow.  Do you need funding for your small business? Visit the Hello Alice Funding Center to view our current grant programs and subscribe to the Hello Alice newsletter to stay up-to-date on future programs and funding opportunities.  Congratulations to these KKR Small Business Builders Grant Program for Female Founders grant recipients:
Jun 1, 2022 • < 1 min read
Small Business Funding

What Can You Do With Grant Money? 4 Real-Life Examples

According to Semrush, “66% of small businesses face financial challenges, with 43% claiming the most prominent challenge is paying operating expenses.” For small businesses, grant money can mean the difference between opening or closing doors. If you're new to grants, we recommend starting with this article that covers all the basics such as what grants are, a review of the grants process, and tips for applying for grants.  But if you do get some free money to invest back in your business, what should you do with grant funds? We've got some great ideas and examples for you below. What Can Small Business Owners Do With Grant Money? Some ways small business owners might spend grant funds include: hiring new employees covering day-to-day costs upgrading facilities product development purchasing inventory expanding retail partnerships investing in marketing For specific examples and inspiration, let's look at real-life small businesses to see how they put grant money to work. What 4 Small Business Owners Did With Grant Money For some good ideas about what you can do with free money, we asked four Hello Alice grant recipients how they invested the extra funds into their small businesses. Meet Marsha, David, Valerie, and Shabazz. These small business owners and recipients from different grant programs share specific ways they invested grant money back into their companies.  1. Marsha Stephanson, Founder and CEO of Cater to Mom Cater to Mom is a monthly postpartum care subscription box focused on catering to the needs of moms after giving birth.  "So much attention is given to mom during her pregnancy, but the postpartum period is neglected," Marsha says.  "Our mission is to change the narrative of postpartum care by providing emotional and mental support to moms in a curated, thoughtfully-planned gift box." How much grant money did your small business receive? $10,000 from the Hello Alice Stacy's Rise Project Grant What did you spend your grant money on? "We were able to hire a part-time operations assistant," Marsha shares. "And we were able to buy a large amount of inventory to prepare for last year's holiday rush order." What impact did this have on your business? The addition of a part-time operations assistant supports preparing their monthly box shipments with expediency. Notably, this was especially beneficial to meet the supply and demand during the busy holiday season. Ultimately, she adds, the business "had a significant increase in subscribers going forward into the new year."  "I think the biggest challenge, primarily as a woman entrepreneur, is support and funding," she says. "I have bootstrapped for most of my entrepreneurial journey. We have seen significant growth over the last 3 years but it has been filled with blood, sweat, and lots of tears." For that reason, the financial assistance of free grant money is highly encouraging and helpful. 2. David Price, Founder of The Safety Pouch David Price launched The Safety Pouch in June of 2020. "When I was 16 years old, before giving me the keys to my car, my parents sat me down at the kitchen table to have 'The Talk,' a conversation familiar to most Black teenagers about how to interact with police during traffic stops. During the conversation, I thought to myself that there must be something available to help facilitate this interaction and alleviate this fear parents feel when sending their children out on the road. I did some research to find products to help this issue, but I was unable to find products that would be safe for both law enforcement and drivers to interact." After further developing the idea in a business seminar course, the professor helped him bring the product to market. How much grant money did you receive? $10,000 from the Hello Alice Amazon Grant What did you spend your grant money on? "We used our grant funding to help expand our inventory to support our branch out into Walmart stores," David says.  What impact did this have on your business? Customers will be able to find Safety Pouch products in Walmarts across the nation starting in May of 2022. David credits the grant for making the Walmart launch possible when other traditional funding options let them down. "I love what I do because I have an opportunity to impact lives," he says. "I am doing my part in tackling an issue that is really important to me. Through The Safety Pouch, I’ve been able to give thousands of parents a sense of relief when sending their kids out on the road. Knowing I’m making a small yet meaningful impact in relieving stress and creating safer, more efficient traffic stops makes it all worth it." 3. Valerie Garcia of Wildlife Adventures Wildlife Adventures is a service business that aims to delight and educate children of all ages about animals and conservation. "We find that the animals 'open up' interest and from there we can teach so many things," Valerie explains. "I feel very responsible to be certain that we seize that educational opportunity. Depending on the program theme, we impart messages such as leaving wildlife in the wild, responsible pet ownership, the value of a healthy natural world, and messages for good citizenship."  How much grant money did you receive? $20,000 from the Hello Alice BGE Energizing Small Business Grant What did you spend your grant money on? "The grant allowed me to hire an employee to assist with developing a line of wildlife educational materials for the classroom," Valerie shares.  Additionally, they're also using some of the grant money to upgrade their animal housing facility. What impact did this have on your business? "The BGE Grant has made an indelible impact on Wildlife Adventures," Valerie affirms. It was especially beneficial to support their business during COVID when they were unable to meet in person and needed to shift the focus of their business.  4. Shabazz Stuart, Founder and CEO of Oonee Oonee is building the nation’s first secure bike parking network that local residents can use for free. "We work with cities to finance and build out this infrastructure on scale, similar to a public transportation system," Shabazz explains. After successfully demonstrating a minimum viable product and thriving in the pandemic they are currently implementing a major expansion in New York and beyond.  How much grant money did you receive? $10,000 from the Hello Alice SIA Scotch Entrepreneurial Spirit Fund How did you spend your grant money? "We used the grant to pay bills during our fundraising period," Shabazz shares.  What impact did that have on your business? "The grant was extremely valuable as it allowed us to meet costs as we took on a number of capital projects," Shabazz says.  "As first time founders without a traditional tech background, raising our initial round of capital was challenging. Recently, we became the first company to surpass $1 million in crowd-investing — an alternative route to venture capital financing. We’re hoping this validation, combined with the tremendous validation from the initial pilots and MVPs, has set us up for a strong Series A."  Ultimately, the grant money is not just supporting a business—but a vision. "Seeing the impact on the community that raised me is inspiring. Transportation is transformative and unlocking a new transportation option really can change people’s lives profoundly. We get to be the first to provide this kind of crucial cycling infrastructure on a systemic basis." About Hello Alice Grants Are you a small business owner looking for funding opportunities? Hello Alice has plenty more grants looking for eligible recipients. Visit our small business funding center to review current grant opportunities. For more small business tips and inspiration create a free account on Hello Alice or subscribe to our weekly newsletter.
Apr 5, 2022 • 5 min read
Small Business Funding

Apply Now to the Small Business Growth Fund

If your small business received a $5,000 grant, what would be your next big move?  That’s what we want to know from anyone applying to Round 2 of the Small Business Growth Fund.   Part of the Year of Small Business movement, this grant program addresses small business owners’ #1 need: access to capital. Each recipient will receive a $5,000 grant, provided by Mastercard, to accelerate their growth and help make 2022 the year of their small business. Everyone who applies receives free access to the thousands of curated resources and a community of 600,000+ small business owners on Hello Alice. To qualify for the Small Business Growth Fund, you must: Be a for-profit business Have less than $1M in 2021 gross annual revenue Have a commitment to their customers and community Have a clear plan for use of funds. Fifty outstanding recipients were funded in Round 1. If you applied and were not selected for a previous round of the program, you are welcome to submit a new application. We will evaluate your application based on any new information and judge it against a new pool of applicants! The deadline for this round is May 20, 2022, at 6 p.m. ET. Learn more and apply today!
Apr 4, 2022 • < 1 min read
Small Business Funding

Apply Now to the Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund

In partnership with Hello Alice, DoorDash is proud to reopen the Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund as part of its ongoing five-year, $200 million Main Street Strong pledge to empower local communities.  The Importance of Restaurants in Local Communities Small businesses are the center of local economies, yet nearly 40% of small businesses are unable to reopen following a disaster according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Disaster can occur at a moment's notice, and access to financial assistance is crucial to helping a restaurant rebuild their business. "Restaurants are at the heart of Main Street and they have exhibited immense resiliency when disaster strikes, providing for their communities even when their resources on hand are limited," said Tasia Hawkins, Social Impact Program Lead at DoorDash. "The Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund is one way we are aiming to reduce the financial burden imposed on restaurants following a natural disaster, helping keep restaurant doors open for years to come." About the Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund Applications for Round 2 are open now at doordash.helloalice.com. The fund will be open for eligible restaurant owners and operators experiencing hardship due to a state- or federally-declared natural disaster. Applications must be submitted within 12 months of the declared disaster. Grants given to the selected restaurant owners or operators will be $10,000 each. Selected restaurants can utilize the funds for rent, utilities, maintenance, supplies, payroll, and other essential expenses. Applications will be processed every three months, with funding distributed for grant awardees shortly thereafter. Eligibility Eligible applicants must: Be a restaurant located in the United StatesBe experiencing hardship due to a state- or federally-declared natural disasterOperate a brick-and-mortar location Own three stores or less, and employ fewer than 50 employees per locationBe open for at least six monthsMaintain revenues of $3M or less per location in the last 12 months  A partnership with DoorDash or Caviar is not required or considered. For more information about the Restaurant Disaster Relief Fund, full eligibility criteria, and terms and conditions, please visit doordash.helloalice.com.  Eligible restaurateurs are encouraged to apply for grants beginning now and to join the DoorDash community on Hello Alice to receive email updates, disaster preparedness education, and community support. For more small business grant opportunities visit the Hello Alice Funding Center. 
Apr 1, 2022 • 2 min read