Grants and Funding Resources for Founders in the Early Stages

Small Business Administration (SBA)

If your small business is engaged in high tech or scientific innovations that can be put to private or public sector commercial use, your business might qualify for a research grant through the Small Business Innovative Research program. The Small Business Administration (SBA) coordinates this program, which currently has 11 participating government agencies.

Also administered through the SBA, the Small Business Technology Transferprogram has five participating government agencies. Like SBIR, its goals are to stimulate private and public sector economic development, strengthen national security, and improve public health through STEM disciplines.

Pacific Community Ventures

PCV provides affordable small business loans ($50,000 — $200,000) to Bay Area businesses that are creating quality jobs in local communities. Our loans help small business owners thrive and be successful. In addition to quarterly meetings with a financial advisor, PCV small business loan borrowers can also work with free expert small business advisors in a variety of areas, such as marketing, HR and operations. We also specialize in working with small business owners who’ve had a hard time accessing capital, like female and minority borrowers, and borrowers that may have been turned down for SBA or traditional bank loans.

The Opportunity Fund

The Opportunity Fund is a nonprofit financial institution that provides micro-enterprise loans, business strategy advising and personal savings programs. The program is dedicated to serve low-income entrepreneurs who need a small loan to start their business. The average microloan provided by the fund is $10,000. Interest rates are fixed at 8–12%. Business owners must live in the Bay Area, develop a financial plan and own an existing business.

The San Francisco Foundation

The San Francisco Foundation combines assets from endowment sources and donor investments to provide loans and other financing tools to nonprofits and social enterprises in the region. The loans are granted with a low interest rate and provide a viable financing option for organizations to grow and innovate.

Working Solutions

Working Solutions provides micro-loans for local startups and existing businesses located in all nine counties in the Bay Area. To qualify for a loan, a business owner or entrepreneur must have been declined a loan from a bank, have at least 1 year of recent, paid, same-industry experience, current on their personal credit obligations, be a U.S. citizen and 18 years or older, provide a guarantee on the loan and be committed to receiving ongoing business coaching and mentoring. The loans range from $5,000 to $50,000 and operate for five year loan terms. Interest rates range from 8–10%.