Forbes Magazine 31 Oct 13 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
Why Funding Startups is important. Entrepreneurs are full of great ideas and powerful ways to implement them, but like anything in life, starting a new Business requires a hefty stack of cold, hard cash. At one time, gathering this cash required hours of traipsing business plans to one Investor after another. As we approach next year, support for small businesses and startups has never been stronger. Everyone from President Obama to the stars of NBC’s Shark Tank acknowledges that small businesses are the backbone of our nation’s economy. By investing in small businesses, we help strengthen that economy by creating jobs while also supporting other companies through purchasing products and forming partnerships.
Funding aint Easy. But for an entrepreneur starting out, it can be hard to sort through the many funding options available to determine which are most lucrative. While it would be ideal to line a roomful of investors up and let them fight it out for the honor of funding your business, that is often, unfortunately, not the reality. Still, through leveraging the global outreach of the Internet, your startup can receive the funding it needs to get off the ground. Here are a few tips to help you locate the best finance deal for your business idea.
Consider your Niche. Hopefully there’s something special about your idea. There are grants tailored to either specific business owners or specific business ideas, that can help get your idea off the ground. Defining your Niche will have an additional benefit. As you seek out funding, you’ll be able to summarize in only a few words what sets your business apart from others. Research any investors you approach, to discover those financiers that have a particular interest in what your business offers.
Finding a Grant. When it comes to locating financing, nothing beats a grant. Money is provided to you – free of charge – that you can put toward your startup. Under-standably, locating & landing these grants is extremely difficult, but you’ll definitely never land a grant if you don’t try. Grants are available based on the focus of your business, as well as your own demo-graphics. (ie, there are grants for minority business owners, women, single mothers, & more.) In order to apply, you’ll have to do a lot of typing. Most grant programs require extensive proposals – where you detail every aspect of your organization.
Enter a Contest. Perhaps another sign of the growing support of small business startups is the number of contests that encourage innovation by offering a large financial reward. The Amazon Web Services – Startup Challenge provides annual rewards of $50K plus $50K in AWS Credits to businesses each year. MIT offers Rewards of more than $350K each year for its pitch, accelerate, & launch contests. To improve your odds of success in these contest, find ways to make your project stand out from the crowd. You’ll either have to present your idea In-person or pitch it through an Power Point or an Executive Summary, so the idea itself has to be as original as possible – to get the most attention.
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