Some financial institutions and non-profit organizations are prepared to provide funding to start-ups with little collateral or limited credit history. Start by browsing the resources of the Association for Enterprise Opportunity, "the national association of organizations committed to microenterprise development," including a listing of AEO member microbusiness development organization by state, such as The Intersect Fund (founded by two Rutgers students).
Some notable organizations include:
Microfinance has also gone online, with individual lenders being matched with individual borrowers, sometimes within a particular social network (also referred to as "crowdfunding" or "crowdsourcing"). Shopify has this useful multipart tutorial: The Ultimate Guide to Crowdfunding.
Other microfinance institutions around the world may be found at the Microfinance Gateway while various sorts of indicators by firm and by country are available at Trends for Microfinance Institutions.
To ensure compliance with the law, refer to this guide from the US Securities and Exchange Commission: Q&A: Small Business and the SEC. The latest change is Eliminating the Prohibition Against General Solicitation and General Advertising, which took effect in mid September, 2013.
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