Funding Your Start-Up in 2012: Tips for Baton Rouge and Beyond

This post was written by Genevieve Silverman, the Finance Director of the Louisiana Technology Park. She provides tips on funding a start-up in Baton Rouge – and many of these tips relate to funding in other regions.


How will you finance your next business venture? Photo by Howard Lake.

Everyone knows the funding environment is tight these days, but that just means you need to work a little harder to ferret out the resources that are still out there.  Here are some tips for finding that cash you need to fund your Baton Rouge business this year.

Network, Network, Network

The initial source of funding for startups typically comes as equity investments from the founders and their friends and family.  But what do you do beyond that level?  Your CPA, attorney, and investment advisor can often be excellent referral sources to angel investors and investment funds.

You can also find them by networking through local organizations and events geared toward entrepreneurs such as SeNSE, Tech Park U, and Startup Weekend.

On the Web

If you’re looking for angel funding, a few online resources can help you out.

  • Check out South Coast Angel Fund, based in Louisiana, and fill out their online application.
  • AngelList ( helps match angel investors and entrepreneurs.  Companies and investors with profiles on the site are separated into industry categories in order to better match startups to investors’ specialties.
  • Gust ( is the platform used by over 750 angel groups and other institutions (including South Coast) to manage the entire funding process from application to closing.  Set up your Gust profile, search for angel groups and other investors that are looking for your type of business, and then apply online to multiple groups.

SBA Funding & Bank Loans

Banks don’t lend to startups, right?  Well, that’s not always true.  Your startup may qualify for a loan guaranteed by the SBA (U.S. Small Business Administration), which might persuade a bank to take a risk on your business.  You’ll typically need to come up with equity equal to 20% of the project cost, provide a guarantee of any owner holding more than 20% ownership, and pledge all available collateral, sometimes including personal collateral.

And of course you have to demonstrate ability to repay the loan.  However, SBA will sometimes allow an interest-only repayment period, and consider projected funding from recently-executed contracts you’ve secured with your clients.  Check with local SBA lenders for more details.

So be persistent, do your research, and you may find the cash you’re looking for to take your business to the next level.  Good luck!


Do you have funding tips or tricks to share? How did you get funding for your business?