One of the most common needs for a business to grow is access to financing. Whether it’s a business loan or crowdfunding, there are a variety of financing solutions for expanding businesses to choose from. To assist you in selecting an appropriate financing option for your business, we have identified a variety of private and community-based organizations in the area that offer direct financing assistance. 

Business loans

First, it is important to know that if your business has been open less than three years, achieving a loan from a bank or other lender will likely be difficult. Most lenders will first recommend that you seek financial assistance from your family and friends to help start your business.

If you are considering a business loan and would like more information on the loaning process, this guide by the Small Business Administration (SBA) may be able to answer your questions.

Smart Tip: The Small Business Development Center at Highline College has experts that can help you prepare for applying for a loan, increasing your chance for success and favorable interest rates.  

Community College

The Washington Business HUB, a state government website and a resource you can trust, has additional information on loans and other financial resources for businesses.

Sources of business loans

  • Banks or Credit Unions
    • Business loans are typically offered through commercial banks and credit unions. If your business has been in operation for more than two years and shows the ability to earn a profit, a local bank or credit union may be able to assist you.
  • Small Business Administration Loans
    • “SBA” loans are intended to assist businesses that may not qualify for a traditional commercial bank business loan. They are guaranteed by the federal government (through the Small Business Administration) and are offered through a variety of business lenders. The SBA’s Lender Matching tool can help you locate a nearby SBA-approved lender.
  • Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)
    • CDFIs are financial institutions that provide credit and financial services to underserved markets and populations. While these institutions often provide loans to businesses that traditional banks do not, loans made through these channels often carry higher interest rates than traditional banks or SBA loans. CDFIs in the Burien Area include:
      • CRAFT3 (formerly Enterprise Cascadia) provides loans amounts up to $250,000. CRAFT3 targets loans to low-income, minority, women, and immigrant-owned businesses.
      • BusinessImpactNW (BIN) offers loans ranging from $5,000 to $250,000 to startups, new businesses, and established businesses. BIN targets its loans towards women, veterans, communities of color, immigrants, LGBT, and disabled entrepreneurs.
      • Northwest Access Fund offers small-business loans of up to $25,000. Northwest Access Fund targets funding to individuals with disabilities.

Zoning verification letters

If you are financing the purchase or renovation of a commercial property, sometimes banks require assurance that your plans are in compliance with local laws. The City offers zoning verification letters to assist you in qualifying for a loan. If you are interested in getting a zoning verification letter from the City, please contact Chris Craig

Investment capital and crowdfunding

Investors can provide your business with additional funding in exchange for a specified level of ownership. Below are some groups or resources that connect investors with entrepreneurs in Washington state:

  • Alliance of Angels
  • ZINO Society
  • Fund Local is a crowdfunding program targeted specifically to small businesses. Sponsored by the Washington State Department of Commerce, Fund Local provides entrepreneurs with online platform to generate a no-interest loan funded by local community members

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs)

Mercy Corps Northwest
Mercy Corps Northwest is the U.S. economic development office of Mercy Corps, an international relief and development agency. Mercy Corps Northwest is a U.S. Small Business Administration intermediary microlender. They provide financing to small business owners who may not qualify for traditional loans. Loans range from $500 to $20,000 for startups, and up to $50,000 for existing businesses.

JumpStart Fund
The JumpStart Fund, a nonprofit microenterprise development program, was formed by the Refugee Resettlement Office in 2003 with funding from the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement. Since then, JumpStart has provided over $550,000 in micro-loans to Puget Sound area refugees and asylees.

Ventures provides access to capital through their loans and savings programs. Options range from collateral-free peer loans up to $3,500, traditional business loans up to $35,000, and credit-building loans. These loans are paired with financial management and literacy courses and workshops.

NDC Grow America Fund
The NDC Grow America Fund is a national small business lending program, working with individual community partners to provide financing to growing small businesses throughout the country. NDC operates as a community development lender to support the creation of jobs and the expansion of eligible small businesses in undeserved communities, particularly minority and women-owned businesses.

Small Business Administration Loans

Evergreen Business Capital
Evergreen Business Capital is a private, nonprofit organization authorized by the U.S. Small Business Administration as a Certified Development Company (CDC). The U.S. Small Business Administration established the 504 loan to help businesses purchase owner-occupied commercial real estate and equipment. Many small and mid-sized businesses are eligible for the 504 loan.

Evergreen Business Capital also offers Community Advantage Loans for businesses in need of affordable capital. With a mission of serving underserved markets, Evergreen Business Capital provides Community Advantage Loans as low as $10,000 up to $250,000. Proceeds can be used for equipment, business acquisition, and working capital needs.