Ugh. So this is, admittedly, not my favorite topic. I think about finding funding, in any of its forms and I immediately break out into hives. But, when you have to come up with literally thousands of dollars in a short amount of time, this is kind of an important step in the process! What are we needing funding for? Well…
1) A new “advanced treatment” septic system for the property we want to license as the official facility for the school.
2) A chemical disinfection system for the well, and accompanying certified operator for said well.
3) Zoning, transportation, health department and licensing fees—just to apply to all the entities will cost us roughly $3500.
4) Set-up costs associated with outfitting a child care center. Tables, chairs, materials, books, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms, etc… And the health dept loves sinks, so probably a few of those too.
5) Start-up costs for staff trainings and medical-related certifications, Wilderness First Aid, and so forth. Being able to subsidize the required classes in Early Childhood Education for our staff members would be a huge bonus too!
6) Marketing. Dare I say that word? It’s true. We could really use a little funding to throw towards getting the word out about the school before opening day.
So what will the approach to funding be? I think we will take a two-pronged approach. First, we will need to apply for a small business microloan, such as the ones available through the good folks at the Colorado Enterprise Fund. We will hunt around for a good interest rate, although it looks like “conventional bank funding” isn’t likely to be a great option for us. All potential lenders are pretty uptight about things like proving prior revenue generation for one’s small business, which we actually CAN do, but geez, not sure that the numbers have the correct amount of zeros at the end. We’re going to try though! The first small bank we are approaching is Elevations Credit Union, because we prefer to bank locally, and because our lender at the Colorado Enterprise Fund recommended an Elevations business banker to us—so that’s always a good place to start.
And, aside from getting a micro-loan, we plan to do a fundraiser. This can be accomplished via a good, old-fashioned Silent Auction, if you have a large enough, physically-present community…or you can attempt to make your community larger by including, say, the whole world, through a fundraising platform such as Indigogo. One nice perk of using Indigogo for crowdfunding, rather than Kickstarter, is that they offer what is called Flexible Funding. This means that, even if you don’t meet your fundraising goal, you can still keep whatever funds you raised. This is wonderful in our case because literally every little bit will help. If you have a product that you can only launch if you raise a certain amount of cash, flexible funding doesn’t necessarily help you as much…
So, we’ll probably do both. A little fundraising, a little microloaning. With those two and a little luck, hopefully we’ll be on our way. Stay tuned.