A great banking relationship is a tremendous asset for a business.
But strong relationships take time to build, and sometimes, bank financing might not be your most prudent option.
Luckily for business executives, there are many financing options available beyond traditional bank loans, including venture capital, loans specifically for small businesses and funding for early-stage technology companies.
There also are organizations ready to help businesses obtain the best bank loans available to them, between helping to prepare loan packages and getting multiple loan bids through one application process.
Check out five financing options available to businesses below:
Competitive Bank Loans
The Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corp. recently launched the Lehigh Valley Lending Network, where businesses can get loan offers from up to 15 banks through one application process. The Lehigh Valley Lending Network streamlines the process for businesses seeking new bank relationships and allows them to determine the lowest cost options to finance their project.
Loan Fund Connections, Loan Package Preparation
The Small Business Development Center’s Financing Assistance Program has in-depth information on bank and government lending programs. The center can help with preparing loan packages and also can serve as a liaison between businesses and loan funds, banks, economic development agencies, the U.S. Small Business Administration, and the Pennsylvania Department of Commerce.
The U.S. Small Business Administration offers assistance in matching up businesses with private equity investors. More information can be found at: sba.gov/starting-business/financeyour-business/venture-capital/venture-capital
The Lehigh Valley also is home to some local venture capital companies including:
- Originate Ventures: The firm focuses on opportunities with medical devices, healthcare, consumer, information technology, web-based and commercial products, offering investments between $500,000 and $4 million. More information can be found at: OriginateVentures.com
- Lehigh Valley Angel Investors Co.: Provides funding to start-up companies in a wide variety of industries. More information can be found at: LehighValleyAngelInvestors.com
Capital Investment for Technology Companies
Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Northeastern Pennsylvania invests in early-stage technology companies that cannot secure seed funding through conventional means and also established manufacturers as they implement technological innovation for competitive advantage.
Their investments typically range from $25,000 to $150,000 per year for up to three years. Selection is competitive and is based upon many factors, including the company’s ability to create and/or retain highly paid, sustainable jobs in northeastern Pennsylvania.
Rising Tide Community Loan Fund
Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley offers loans to small businesses whose risk factors make it difficult to obtain funds from traditional lenders. Their loan products include:
- Micro-Loans: These loans are available for up to $50,000 and are designed to support start-up business costs or expansion costs for existing businesses.
- Small Business Opportunity Loan Fund: Existing businesses that have been in operation for at least 12 consecutive months can apply for this loan help provide additional working capital, help fund an expansion or more. With a maximum loan amount of $150,000, this type of loan is not open to start-ups.
- Bethlehem Small Business Loan Fund: This fund enables economic development projects with needs for financing that cannot be met through traditional sources and can assist businesses which create or retain jobs in Bethlehem. Loan amounts range from $25,000 through $100,000 and funds can be used for the acquisition of property, new construction, substantial rehabilitation or expansion, some predevelopment costs (architectural, engineering and environmental services) or equipment integral to the business.
- Lines of Credit: Ideal for short-term capital needs, loans range from $3,000-$15,000 and borrowers are eligible to borrow again after just a single day at zero balance.
How to Apply
Concannon Miller is personally acquainted with the key personnel at these organizations and can help you navigate with various agencies and programs to determine the route for maximizing your opportunities to get your business on the path for greater success. Many of these organizations provide businesses with free or discounted assistance. Contact us here for more information.
Looking for more grant and tax credit opportunities? Check out our Business Guide for Growth, which offers details on more than 40 tax strategies, grants, credits, low-interest loans and other business resources to help companies grow. Download your copy here.