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Great Funding Database - What's Inside

Great Funding Database

The Great Funding Database is designed as a convenient, time-saving search tool for entrepreneurs who want fast access to the names and Web sites of local, regional and national funding and entrepreneurial education sources.
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Sample Report
Review a sample report from the Great Funding Database:
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Angel Investment Clubs:

An "angel" has become known in the venture building community as a wealthy individual who invests in emerging companies with high growth potential. Angels can include high income professionals (doctors, dentists, lawyers) and corporate executives, wealthy retirees, entertainers and sports stars, entrepreneurs who have succeeded in building and selling their own businesses, and individuals who have inherited money.

Angels invest in new restaurants, movies, oil and gas drilling, new technology companies, franchise businesses, real estate, consumer products, business services and many other types of promising enterprises. Some angels prefer to invest in companies that are related to their own business expertise while others invest in businesses that can bring new jobs to a local community.

Overall, however, angels invest to make money. Angels expect to earn their money back within 5 to 7 years with an annualized internal rate of return of 20% to 40%. This expectation compares favorably to the average annual return of publicly traded stocks, which historically is approximately 6%.

Angels have proven to be an important source of interim funding for companies that are too young to appeal to traditional commercial bank lenders or don’t yet qualify for multi-million dollar venture capital funding. Angels have invested in some of America’s most recognized brands including Starbucks and Costco.

Increasingly, angels are forming clubs to make the process of linking active private investors with worthy entrepreneurs fast and easy. Some angel groups pool together funds to support a small number of chosen companies while others encourage their members to invest in any company at will.

Most angel investment clubs require their members to be "accredited investors." The U.S. Securities Exchange Commission defines accredited investors as individuals who have a net worth of $1 million and annual income in excess of $200,000 in the two preceding years. Joint incomes should exceed $300,000 in the two preceding years with a reasonable expectation to maintain this high income level.

The Great Funding Database includes angel investment clubs that are located throughout the United States. These organizations have varying application fees and requirements to qualify entrepreneurs to speak to club members. Better clubs also offer coaching services to help entrepreneurs improve their presentation skills to tell their business story in a compelling way.

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College and University Entrepreneurial Education Centers

The Great Funding Database includes colleges and universities that offer business development assistance services to students, alumna and local businesses. In addition to taking classes in entrepreneurship, startup entrepreneurs and small business owners who are located near colleges and universities can enjoy access to library resources for research, professional counseling, technical analysis, and free or low wage student interns who can provide market research, projection development, business plan writing and other administrative assistance.
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The Great Funding Database provides information on a relatively new breed of support services for startup entrepreneurs, called "incubators." Most incubator organizations are for-profit entities that offer office space, administrative and other support services to startup entrepreneurs. Better incubator services provide high caliber advisory services to help entrepreneurs improve business plans, complete product or service design, set up accounting functions or achieve fundraising goals. These organizations may also help entrepreneurs network to local legal and accounting professionals, angel organizations and first customers.

Incubators that are located on or near university campuses typically offer startup entrepreneurs access to well-equipped laboratories and technical professionals to speed the commercialization of medical, communications, information, environmental and other cutting-edge technologies. Some incubators offer nothing more than office space and shared access to conference rooms, secretarial assistance and office equipment which can be useful to startup entrepreneurs in need of a professional office environment to advance a young company's prospects.

The costs associated with incubator services vary significantly. Some incubators associated with community development organizations offer space and advisory services at a nominal charge. Others require entrepreneurs to sign office leases or give an equity stake in the young enterprise to the incubator's owner.

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Micro-finance and Community Development Lenders

A micro-finance organization provides small loans to startup and "micro" business owners. These organizations are notable because they often lend to low-income individuals who may have limited credit histories, work experience or assets.

The concept of micro-lending, also referred to as micro-credit, was pioneered by 2006 Nobel Prize for Peace co-winners The Grameen Bank and Mohammed Yunus. Starting in Pakistan, the Grameen Bank demonstrated the value of granting uncollateralized small business loans to startup entrepreneurs as a way to generate income and new economic activity in the world's most impoverished regions. Today, micro-lending is a multi-billion dollar industry with active lending operations in Asia, South and Central America, Africa and North America. In the United States, micro-lending organizations typically provide first loans of approximately $500 to $1,000. With successful repayment and business progress, entrepreneurs can continue to borrow funds often up to $30,000 at interest rates below that of standard credit cards.

Many micro-enterprise lenders that operate offices in the United States also provide low cost or free business development training courses for prospective or active borrowers. Micro-enterprise organizations tend to favor women, minority borrowers and disenfranchised individuals as part of their community service mission.

In addition to micro-lending organizations, startup entrepreneurs who live in rural or urban communities in need of economic development may be able to receive small business funding from community development banks. These banks are typically managed with a "double bottom line" objective of earning a modest financial return from lending and deposit services while generating a social improvement return for the economic benefit of local communities.

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Private Equity Funds

Private equity is a class of institutional investment funds that mostly invest in companies that are not publicly traded on a stock exchange. These funds are professional managed, and unlike angel investors, invest "other people's money" in growth-oriented businesses. Private equity funds include venture capital funds, buyout funds, turnaround and "special situation" funds.

The Great Funding Database includes some private equity funds that invest in companies which are classed by their size as part of the "middle market" or "lower middle market." These businesses, in general, are revenue-generating and have total enterprise values between $50 and $500 million.

The equity and debt financing needs of these businesses can be complex. Private equity funds can provide debt or additional equity to help business owners and managers grow through acquisitions, new product development, or aggressive territory or market expansion. They can assist owners in selling all or a portion of their equity stakes for estate planning, in anticipation of retirement, or simply to reduce the concentration of a business founder's net worth that may be locked up in the business. Further, some private equity funds specialize in helping financially distressed companies return to fiscal health through an infusion of capital, new strategic direction and often new executive leadership.

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SCORE Offices

SCORE (Service Corps of Retired Executives) is a well-managed, helpful non-profit organization that provides free, one-on-one confidential business planning and coaching services to startup entrepreneurs and small business owners. There are over 350 SCORE offices in the United States. The primary value of SCORE professionals to startup entrepreneurs and small business owners is the opportunity to receive independent, professional feedback and mentoring about managing a startup, fast-growing, stagnant or even failing enterprise. Volunteer retired executives assist business owners in thinking through the wisdom of their planned strategies, brand positioning, projections, funding requirements, product or service pricing, competitive research, sales positioning and more. SCORE offices also conduct special workshops on a broad range of small business planning and development topics at an affordable cost.
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Small Business Development Centers

The Small Business Administration supports a large network of Small Business Development Centers ("SBDCs") throughout the United States. These entrepreneur-friendly centers are located at university and college campuses, at YMCA and YWCAs, Chambers of Commerce offices, in state economic development agencies and other government offices. The purpose of these supportive educational centers is to help start and maintain viable small businesses, employ more workers in the United States, and create a positive economic ripple of activity in surrounding regions. Some of the free or low-cost consulting and training services offered at SBDCs include business plan preparation, sales training, accounting management, Web site development, financial projection development, product development and manufacturing, and fundraising. Many centers also sponsor more extensive educational seminars about intellectual property, legal contracts, real estate leases, securing government contracts, personnel hiring and tax planning. Other centers also offer special assistance to women, minorities and veterans.
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Social Investment Funds

Some of American's most innovative entrepreneurs are not motivated by big profits and salaries. Rather these change agents are focused on designing and delivering products and services that have measurable social enhancement value in local, national or international communities.

In recent years philanthropists and corporations have been pooling funds to invest in for-profit and non-profit enterprises that address social needs in healthcare, poverty relief, education, the environment, clean energy production, drug and alcohol addiction, housing, food production and distribution, economic development and more. High impact social entrepreneurs earn funding support from "social venture capitalists" and social investment funds through creative solutions, operating flexibility and disciplined management of enterprise resources to maximize the delivery of effective products or services to communities in need.

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Venture Capital Funds

A venture capital fund is a professionally-managed company that is organized to invest in companies with ambitious growth plans. Individuals who make investment decisions for a venture capital fund are often called "venture capitalists" or "VCs." Unlike commercial banks, venture capital funds invest in growing companies in the form of equity and do not base their investment decisions on the value of secured business collateral or the credit score of the founding entrepreneur. They seek to make a lucrative financial return on their invested capital through the growth in value of the overall company.

The investment decisions of venture capital funds are guided by a fund's stated investment criteria. The Great Funding Database organizes its venture capital resources according to the funds' investment goals by geographic location, industry and general stage of the entrepreneurial company's business development. Venture funds that invest in raw startups are called "seed" stage investors. Venture funds that invest in companies with more advanced product concepts, customers or profits that seek additional development financing are called "early" stage investors. Venture funds that invest in revenue generating companies in need of financing to spur rapid growth are called "expansion" stage investors. Some larger venture funds will fund prospering companies through several stages of development.

Within the Great Funding Database you will find venture funds that invest in specific industries such as energy, communications, Internet-based services, e-commerce businesses, consumer products or services, life sciences, healthcare, real estate, information technology, business systems, homeland security, defense, media and entertainment and more. Additionally, the Great Funding Database lists United States-based venture funds that also operate international offices as well as funds that are based in India, China, Japan, Greater Europe, Canada, and Israel.

The popular media often depicts venture capitalists as hard-driving negotiators who only invest in companies that have the potential to become super big businesses with enterprise values approaching $1 billion. Actually, the more common successful venture capital transaction involves businesses that ultimately grow to enterprise values of $50 to $100 million. As such, entrepreneurs should not be discouraged from seeking venture capital if their business plans don't represent the next Google or Amazon.com of their respective industries. The Great Funding Database includes over 1,000 venture capital offices that are looking for new business opportunities from hard working, creative, smart entrepreneurs just like you.


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