By Shanteya Hudson, Public News Service
In the quest for economic growth, some small businesses in North Carolina are facing challenges in accessing funding from federal economic stimuli, such as the Infrastructure Bill, Build Back Better, and the American Rescue Plan Act.
The efforts have allocated billions of dollars for clean energy projects and have the potential to reshape the landscape for small companies.
David Billstrom, owner of the consulting firm Flashing Red Light, who used to head a manufacturing company, said limited and often obstructed paths to funding have left smaller businesses grappling to secure the necessary support for their ventures.
“The federal programs, they don’t really address the possibility that the business is unprofitable or is reinvesting and certainly not at scale,” Billstrom pointed out. “I think that’s one of the areas that really for us to build a resilient capitalist economy through small business is that we embrace those riskier investments.”
Billstrom advised the best way for a business owner to access the right funding for their business is to do their homework and connect with someone experienced in business funding like a consultant. When it comes to business funding in North Carolina, stakeholders point to resources such as the Department of Commerce, the Small Business Administration, and North Carolina Rural Center.
Moreover, as the entrepreneurial space becomes more competitive, Billstrom emphasized it is important for business owners to get creative and explore alternative funding opportunities. He noted one overlooked option is assistance from Community Development Financial Institutions, which are nonprofit organizations dedicated to making loans to organizations that may not typically qualify.
“The CDFIs are also about education and coaching,” Billstrom observed. “They have resources in the community to help people build a stronger business or transition from being unprofitable to profitable and meet the other people who can help the business.”
Another tip Billstrom suggested for small-business owners seeking funding is to reach out to other professionals and network with fellow business owners in their community or industry. He added by connecting with others, business owners can gain valuable insights and potentially find new funding avenues.
This article originally appeared on Public News Service and is republished here under a Creative Commons license.