We first posted on this topic in 2015 (https://www.ebhoward.com/get-funding-for-your-project/) and many of the opportunities linked to in that post are still active, but we felt the need to expand on the topic. There are basically 3 major ways to get funding: Grants, equity-based investments, and crowdfunding. While no one way is better or worse than the other, it is important to assess your individual situation to determine which method or combination of methods is likely to work best for you.
Grants are a great way to obtain funding. Grants come in many shapes and sizes. There are federal grants, state grants, international foundation grants, and private grants. Grants are always very competitive and usually involve a lengthy and detailed proposal to apply. In addition to traditional grants, there are also numerous pitch competitions (shark tank-style staged competitions where startups pitch their idea to a panel of judges and one or more winners are selected) and accelerators (educational programs for small businesses) that provide a seed funding grant at program completion. You can learn more about all of these opportunities on Startup Fund Hub. There is a free COVID-19 funding database available to all as well as an optional affordable subscription to unlock the accelerator database, pitch and private grant database, and government grant databases.
Equity-based investments are a great way to find funding if you do not mind giving up a portion of your stock or future revenue to an investor or group of investors. Many entrepreneurs are reluctant to relinquish equity, however, the benefit to equity-based investments is that they tend to be less selective than grants and there are more opportunities available. Most of these funding opportunities come in the form of investments from angel investors or venture capital firms. While you do lose some decision-making capability in many of these scenarios some companies choose to pursue it due to the availability and less competitive nature of the funding.
Crowdfunding is usually accomplished online through a crowdfunding platform. Users can create an account and show potential investors the merits of their idea or product on the platform and investors can deposit funds. The hosting platform makes a small profit on these transactions. While crowdfunding is now performed largely online, the old-school version of crowdfunding involves pitching your idea to friends, family, and colleagues and asking for an investment.
We work with high-growth startups and organizations that support the startup and innovation ecosystem. We build highly specific non-dilutive funding menus, provide proposal preparation services, and measure outcomes of funding through evaluation. Schedule a consult call with us HERE.