10 Ways Women Entrepreneurs Can Fund Their Business
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The starting point for every business is an idea. But the lifeline of a business is the capital. To put your idea into action, you will need to deploy funds to execute your plan. Let's see the different ways to fund your business:
1. Bootstrapping: Bootstrapping is starting your business without external funding. You tap into your personal savings to get things started. Once the business is in motion, operating revenues will feedback into the business. This is one of the ideal ways to start a business.
2. Family Funds: This should be your next option to secure funds for your business. Tap into an internal network of friends and family. People close to you are biased towards you and are likely to support your business idea. They may give you the money as a donation to encourage you, a loan to be paid back later or for equity in your business.
3. CrowdFunding: Crowdfunding literally means getting funded by a crowd. There are crowdfunding platforms where you can run a campaign to fund your start-up idea with defined milestones. If people believe in your idea, they can contribute to your fund and you need to then deliver what you have committed.
4. Winning Entrepreneur Competitions: There are many competitions government and private where entrepreneurs can showcase their product or service. The winning start-up among other things is entitled to a cash prize that can be applied towards the business. Of course, this would require your idea, MVP or product & business model to be truly ingenious and viable.
5. Women-centric Initiatives: There are many government programmes to encourage women entrepreneurs that offer loans and subsidies. Several banks also provide structured loan options for women. State agencies run Entrepreneurship Development Programmes (EDP) and participants are eligible to loans with a discounted rate of interest. Many schemes do not require any collateral security against the loan.
6. Incubators & Accelerators: Incubators are sponsored programs by private companies, governments or educational institutes. They support entrepreneurs and help them grow their business by offering them funding options, working space and other mentoring and networking opportunities for an undefined period. Accelerators are more focused programs that offer funding options and support services to start-ups for 3 to 4 months. These programs offer capital investment in exchange for start-up equity. Since Accelerators have their skin in the game, they work intensively with entrepreneurs to help them succeed. There are women-centric programs to look out for.
7. New age NBFCs & Micro Financers: New-age Non-Banking Financial Companies may offer loans for businesses without requiring collateral. NBFCs are business sensitive and provide quick business loan approvals and disbursements. Benefits may include a flexible EMI schedule, lower interest rates and zero prepayment charges. Microfinance gives entrepreneurs with poor credit rating access to capital.
8. Bank Loan: Banks and financial institutions provide financial assistance to Start-ups if they are satisfied with the business model and its potential to pay back the loan. Start-up companies can choose from a host of term loan or working capital or asset-backed loans based on their requirements. Start-ups are required to service the loan every month by paying interest.
9. Angel Funding: Angels, as the name suggests, are human angels who can help to fund your business. They are HNI individuals or groups that fund a start-up early on in the lifecycle in exchange for equity. The Angel would need to buy into your vision and your capabilities as an entrepreneur. An Angel may also bring to the table his network of connections to help your business.
10. VC & PE Funding: Venture Capital & Private Equity are professionally managed funds. One should seek VC funding only when the business is stabilized and requires scaling. VCs usually invest in business against equity and help the company expand & grow even if it involves certain risk. PE funding against large equity happens at a later stage and involves larger investment in mature companies that have a proven track record.
As mentioned above there are several means to secure funds to give wings to your business. Each means comes with its own set of pros and cons. Depending on what stage your start-up is, evaluate which option is best for you and go for it.