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Small Business Hub: A Research Guide for Entrepreneurs

Finance Your Business

See also our list of resources for financial relief due to the COVID-19 pandemic on the introduction page of this guide.

There are a number of options for getting money to start a small business, such as self-investment (using or borrowing against your own assets), borrowing from family and friends, peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding, venture capital, and angel investors. There are two types of financing: equity financing, where you receive funds in exchange for partial ownership in the company; and debt financing, where you receive funds that must be repaid. Grants and awards, in which you receive money that does not need to be repaid, may also be available.

Tips

Starting points:

  1. Use a start up cost worksheet (like one from Start Your Own Business reference book on p. 172, or one from the Small Business Administration website [pdf])
  2. Identify what type of financing you want to pursue.
  3. In addition to information about your own business, research the lending institution to make sure it matches your needs.

Suggested strategies:

  • Start local. Find local banks, city or county economic development offices, regional business competitions.
  • Use associations geared to a particular demographic of business owners (women, veterans), or business type to see if they offer grants or loans.

Select Resources

The following materials link to fuller bibliographic information in the Library of Congress Online Catalog. Links to additional online content are provided when available.

The subscription resources below marked with a padlock  are available to researchers on-site at the Library of Congress. If you are unable to visit the Library, you may be able to access these resources through your local public or academic library.

These are freely available online sources provided by government agencies, trade publications, and organizations.

The following guides were created by the Library of Congress to give an in-depth list of resources on a specific topic.