Immigrants are more likely to start their own business compared to native citizens of the United States. However, immigrants have more trouble obtaining working capital for their business.
Fortunately, there are other types of business financing for immigrants. From SBA loans and grants to crowdfunding and credit cards, there are several financing options to consider that will help you start or grow your business.
Funding Options for Immigrant Small Business Owners
Small Business Administration (SBA) loans are among the most affordable small business loans options you can find, but there are downsides. You will have to complete an extensive amount of paperwork to obtain business loan products for immigrants backed by the SBA.
The SBA supports immigrant entrepreneurship but there are rules that apply to immigrants which can be found on the SBA application form. If you have legal permanent resident status or are a working visa holder, you’re eligible for an SBA loan. Still, you should take time to familiarize yourself with the eligibility rules to avoid any delays in the application process.
If you’re a refugee, you can consider business grants such as the Wilson-Fish program and the Microenterprise Development Program.
However, you don’t have to be a refugee to get approved for a grant from the government. Non-refugees can find grants at Grants.gov. Make sure that if you do apply for a grant that you do a thorough job with your application, grants are very competitive and can be hard to obtain.
Family and Friends
You can ask for help from family and friends if you are comfortable asking them. You can get your business started and hopefully be profitable. Then you will be able to pay them back when your business is successful.
Credit cards are great to get short-term financing if you use them wisely. Consider looking for a card that has no interest introductory period, so you have time to earn the funds you need to make your payment on time.
Crowdfunding campaigns can help you start your business by raising a lot of money. There are numerous crowdfunding platforms to choose from to get started. It can be a strong financing option for immigrants who want to try a low-risk option and avoid giving up equity.
Microloans or Short-Term Business Loans
Your lack of credit history as an immigrant can make it hard to obtain traditional loans. However, short-term loans or microloans can be an ideal stop-gap measure. Since these loans are less risky to the lender, they have less stringent application requirements.
The Bottom Line
Obtaining funding as an immigrant can be hard. You are more likely to be faced with more paperwork than other applicants. Explore the options above and understand what they each are before you make any decisions. Ultimately, only you or a trusted associate that’s familiar with your business plan can decide which working capital option is best for you. Also, consider your business development, how much financing you require, and the loan application process prior to deciding.