Get All Access for $5/mo

Unusual Places to Look for Funding Online

By Carol Tice Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

If you've given up on getting a bank loan, there are a few offbeat funding options floating around the internet these days. I found three recently that don't offer huge sums, but might be able to give a new business a kick-start.

One of them is called exactly that: Kickstarter. The site began just a few months ago with a focus on helping artists fund their work, but has been developing into a possible small-business funding vehicle, the New York Times' blog recently reported. The site works a bit like the peer-lending sites such as and business owner posts about how much money they're looking for, site visitors pledge small amounts toward the funding needed, and then the loan only funds if the business gets that much in pledges. The big plus: It's a grant, not a loan, and the funds don't need to be repaid.

Artists have offered incentives such as free CDs in exchange for the pledges, while businesses might offer free products or other perks. The site charges a 5 percent fee for successfully completed funding. One catch: Businesses need an "invite" from Kickstarter (look on Twitter, where many are being passed out) in order to post a project proposal on the site for possible funding.

If you don't think your business would be a hit with Kickstarter's art-patron crowd, you think a small amount of money would get your business going, and you do business in an economically depressed area, you might try Kiva. The charity portal connects donors with struggling businesspeople in economically depressed countries who need small loans to grow their business.

The site began in 2005 with a focus on helping entrepreneurs in underdeveloped nations. But in August, Kiva expanded its mission to include U.S.-based businesses, too. If you operate in an economically distressed region of the country or could be classified as "working poor" and are thinking of starting a business, Kiva might be able to help you cobble together a small loan online from its many donors.

Finally, if you think you've got a brilliant concept, you might try Ideablob's monthly business idea contest. The most popular idea with site viewers each month gets $10,000.

Have you noticed any other unusual places to raise money online? If so add them in a post below.

Carol Tice

Owner of Make a Living Writing

Longtime Seattle business writer Carol Tice has written for Entrepreneur, Forbes, Delta Sky and many more. She writes the award-winning Make a Living Writing blog. Her new ebook for Oberlo is Crowdfunding for Entrepreneurs.

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick


Clean up Your Mac Software with This $12 Family Plan, for One Week Only

Save on a program that can optimize your company's Mac computers.


7 Ways You Might Be Damaging Your Credibility as an Entrepreneur

Here are seven credibility killers entrepreneurs need to be aware of.

Business News

Wells Fargo Reportedly Fired More Than a Dozen Employees for Faking Keyboard Activity

The bank told Bloomberg that it "does not tolerate unethical behavior."

Business Solutions

Why Every Solopreneur Needs to Embrace AI-Powered Teams

With the right approach, solopreneurs can harness AI to drive efficiency, productivity and business growth.


Tech Overload Will Destroy Your Customer Relationships. Are You Guilty of Using Too Much Tech?

Technology's value in our world is undeniable. However, there can be a point where it is ineffective and possibly counterproductive. See where it can negatively impact your product, brand, and business.