Crowdfunding is an excellent way to fund your business.
From crowdfunding and angel investors to private industry loans, there are several options to consider if your business is in need of funding after COVID-19. — Drazen_/Getty Images

COVID-19 has thrown businesses across the country into economic uncertainty. And, unfortunately, many merchants have hit roadblocks getting federal assistance. Congress is continuing to work on providing financial assistance to small businesses, but many businesses do not have the luxury of waiting for new funding to be approved.

There are other sources of funding to consider, including crowdfunding, grants, and emergency loans from states, cities, private funders, and community organizations. This guide breaks down the financing options available to business owners who are still waiting for a PPP or SBA loan.

[Read more: A Practical Guide to Funding Your Small Business with Business Loans and Beyond]

SBA Loans

The CARES Act made four different loan programs available to small businesses. The Payment Protection Program, which we will go into in greater detail in the next section, is available through June 30, 2020 (with Congress currently working to extend that deadline).

Other options beyond the PPP include the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL). The EIDL grants offer an advance of up to $10,000 to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties. Currently, these grants are only available on a limited basis to U.S. agricultural businesses.

SBA Express Bridge Loans are available to small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly. Because this is an “express” loan, the SBA will provide funding within 45 days of approval, and no later than 90 days. If you’re waiting on a decision from an Economic Injury Disaster Loan application (before the EIDL was restricted to agricultural businesses), you may be eligible for an Express Disaster Bridge Loan. Note that you must have had an existing banking relationship on or before March 13, 2020.

[Read more: What Is an SBA Loan?]

For more information, check out these resources:

Payroll protection

Since the CARES Act was passed by Congress in March, more than 4.4 million loans have been issued under the Payment Protection Program (PPP) totaling more than $500 billion. The PPP offered loans of up to $10 million from banks and other lenders; the loans can be paid off by the federal government if your business uses most of the money on payroll within a certain time period. The first round of PPP funding ran out in less than two weeks; the second round, totaling $310 billion, still has more than $140 billion left one month later.

[Read more: 8 Fintech Companies Offering Paycheck Protection Loans]

The PPP originally received some bad press for allegedly providing these loans meant for small businesses to bigger organizations, such as Shake Shack and Potbelly Sandwich Shop. Since then, the size of loans has decreased and applications have opened to even the smallest of businesses. The demand for these loans is not growing; NPR reports that “while there are still some businesses waiting on funds, it appears that the overwhelming majority that wanted PPP money have gotten it.”

If you need a loan to cover your payroll, this option is a good bet. Loans are being approved relatively quickly, as the SBA has stated that “borrowers receiving loans of under $2 million will automatically be deemed to have received the money ‘in good faith.’” Congress is presently working on an extension to continue to offer PPP loans through December 2020. Read more about getting a PPP loan in these guides:


If you are ineligible for any of the SBA COVID-19 assistance programs, or still waiting for a decision on your loan application, crowdfunding is an alternative that can help you grow your business or launch a new product. Many people think Kickstarter and Indiegogo are the only crowdfunding options, but actually, there are four main types of crowdfunding. It’s worthwhile to do your research before diving in — crowdfunding can be extremely competitive. Just over 22% of crowdfundingcampaigns are successful.

Read more in these guides:


GoFundMe varies slightly from traditional crowdfunding in that it allows you to keep every donation you receive. Many crowdfunding sites will require you to hit a certain dollar amount before you can withdraw funds. Likewise, crowdfunding favors businesses in growth mode. Many Kickstarter campaigns offer a new product or exclusive access in return for funding. GoFundMe campaigns can ask for assistance with anything. For instance, I AM Books, a Boston bookstore, launched a fundraiser to pay their month’s rent and employee salaries.

GoFundMe is also quite competitive, but the good news is that it’s free for you to list your fundraiser. Note that there is a fee of 2.9% + 3 cents per donation which goes directly to the GoFundMe payment processor.

[Read more: How to Use GoFundMe Crowdfunding in a Crisis]


Microloans are a type of funding in which small loans are issued to by individuals. This type of funding is commonly used with mentorship to help new businesses get off the ground successfully. Some cities are using microloans as a form of COVID-19 relief. The SBA also offers a microloan program with loans up to $50,000. The average SBA microloan is about $13,000. Note that these loans are geared specifically to expenses for working capital, inventory or supplies, furniture and equipment.

[Read more: Everything Your Small Business Needs to Know About Microlending]

There are many private funding sources that your business may be able to take advantage of, depending on your industry.

Industry-specific grants and loans

There are many private funding sources that your business may be able to take advantage of, depending on your industry.

Service providers like salons, fitness studios, freelancers and landscapers should look into things like the Salon & Spa Relief Fund, the Aveda Cares program, the AICPA Benevolent Fund, and the Freelancers Relief Fund. Retailers can find assistance from Hello Alice and Verizon, Facebook’s cash grants fund and Salesforce Care. Restaurants should look into options such as the James Beard Foundation Relief Fund, the Restaurant Workers’ Community Foundation, Go Tip ‘Em (for bars) and Spill the Dish, a database of financial aid options for restaurant owners and workers.

Don’t fall into any of these categories? Look into some of these guides from CO— for more funding ideas.

Venture capital funding

Typically, venture capital funding refers to financing provided by well-off investors or investment banks to startups and small businesses in order to grow. Venture capital was a reliable option for businesses in high growth phases; but, since March, uncertainty caused by coronavirus has caused venture capitalists to pull back.

Joseph G. Hadzima, Jr., senior lecturer at MIT Sloan, wrote that COVID-19 “slowed commitments to VC funds that were in the fundraising stage, and it caused VCs to assess the financial conditions of their portfolio companies.” It’s unlikely that in the short term, VCs will be offering funding for growth; however, you may be able to work with a VC to survive, with the promise of working together to reach new customers once the economy improves. Learn more about venture capital funding in these guides:

Angel investors

Where venture capitalists typically invest other people’s money in the hope of achieving a high-growth return, angel investors provide personal financial backing to companies they deem promising. Early indicators show that many angel investors are “actively working” to add new businesses to their portfolio. “They are not oblivious to concerns around COVID-19, nevertheless, they may look for opportunities to enhance their portfolio as more novice investors are sitting on the sidelines,” wrote one expert in Forbes.

If you’re an entrepreneur looking to start a business, experts recommendapproaching an angel investor (or VC) with a plan for what you need for the next 18 to 24 months. Under normal circumstances, you might ask for six months to a year of funding; but due to coronavirus, it won’t be easy to recruit new customers and operate your business as usual. Update your pitch accordingly.

[Read more: Everything You Need to Know About Angel Investors]

Startup-specific loans and grants

There are separate funding resources dedicated to starting a business that are still available. Some of these grants are geared toward specific groups of entrepreneurs from minority or disadvantaged communities. Check out some of these guides and resources:

For more, check out our recent Town Hall episodes: Coronavirus Funding & Resources and Navigating Coronavirus Loans.

Applications are open for the CO—100! Now is your chance to join an exclusive group of outstanding small businesses. Share your story with us — apply today.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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