Entrepreneurs Too Often Neglect Government Funding Opportunities

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Start-ups often cast a wide net when looking for working capital, ranging from begging a wealthy uncle to participating in pitch slam competitions to securing a meeting with a venture capitalist.

One source they often overlook is the government, Longmont Startup Week panelists said on Friday.

“Sometimes companies are so busy that they don’t realize there are federal and state funding programs,” Katie Woslager, director of advanced industries at Colorado’s Bureau of Economic Development and International Trade, said at the conference. panel “Harnessing the financial resources of the state and the federal government”.

Colorado companies have access to three OEDIT fundraising programs that provide non-dilutive capital.

The proof of concept program offers up to $ 150,000 to companies developing technologies in partnership with universities in Colorado.

The Seed Capital Program provides up to $ 250,000 to small businesses and startups developing products in high-tech industries. These industries are advanced manufacturing, aerospace, biosciences, electronics, energy and natural resources (including clean technologies), infrastructure engineering, and technology and information.

The Collaborative Infrastructure Program provides up to $ 500,000 to early stage companies looking to establish public-private partnerships.

These programs are “very competitive,” Woslager said, but even if a company is not accepted, the founders receive important feedback from industry experts who review the applications.

At the federal level, the Small Business Administration offers a grant program and three loan programs aimed at startups that export products or exporters looking to enter new markets, according to Patty Brewer, SBA’s export finance manager.

Companies can participate in multiple programs and “mix and match depending on how you want to use the funds,” she said.

The funding can be used for a variety of things such as training and legal fees related to issues such as foreign copyright.

Government agencies can not only help with money, but also with education, logistics, connections, and research.

For example, OEDIT has a program to help Colorado businesses gain access to trade shows. The state can provide allowances, market research, assistance with setting up booths and dealing with buyers, Woslager said.

For exporters, the SBA can help companies do their due diligence with foreign buyers or potential partners.

“You have to know that you are working with a real company that will pay its bills,” Brewer said.

© 2021 BizWest Media LLC

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