Anchorage’s economy is still going strong despite the national and international economic downturns. Because of that, while many businesses in other states are cutting workforce, dropping production and battening down the economic hatches, Anchorage businesses are still growing and expanding. To assist that growth and expansion, AEDC has collected some helpful information and developed a few powerful tools to make sure Anchorage businesses have the tools they need to take their businesses to the next level.
The quickest way to stall any expansion is to fail to secure the necessary funds to see it through to the end. Making sure you have your financial ducks in a row is imperative if you’re going to successfully transition your business to the next level. Below you can find some links to resources that can help you fund your expansion.
Local Financial Institutions (this list is not meant to be comprehensive) –
Alaska Growth Capital
3900 C Street, Suite 302
Anchorage, AK 99503
Phone (907) 339-6760 or toll-free 1-888-315-4904
Fax (907) 339-6771
Alaska Growth Capital provides loans to viable businesses that banks consider too risky. Alaska Growth Capital also makes equity investments in businesses by buying stock in the company, and makes hybrid loans that combine the features of debt and equity financing.
Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA)
813 W. Northern Lights Blvd. Anchorage, AK 99503
Phone (907) 269-3000 or toll-free 1-888-300-8534
Fax (907) 269-3044
AIDEA’s Loan Participation Program increases the availability of financing by purchasing a portion of a loan from a financial institution. AIDEA’s portion of the loan may offer a lower interest rate or a longer term than the bank’s portion. Application to the Loan Participation Program is made after the loan is approved by the financial institution.
Evergreen Community Development Association
Desiree Gray, Loan Officer
900 Fourth Avenue, Suite 2900
Seattle, WA 98164
Phone (206) 622-3731 or 1-800-878-6613
Fax (206) 623-6613
Association for Enterprise Opportunity (AEO):
Members of the AEO provide assistance with with micro-loans, training, technical assistance, access to services, and more. Microenterprise is defined as "a business employing 5 or fewer individuals, with start-up financing needs of $35,000 or less."
U.S. Small Business Administration Loans
510 L Street, Suite 310
Anchorage, AK 99501
Phone (907) 271-4022 or toll-free 1-800-755-7034
Fax (907) 271-4545
Small Business Administration 7(a) Loan Guaranty Program
Available to most small businesses, and provides a guaranty of up to 85% of loans in the amount of $150,000 or less. For larger loans, the maximum guaranty is 75%. Most private sectors lenders are familiar with the SBA program. The 504 Loan Program provides financing through a Certified Development Company (CDC), a nonprofit corporation set up to enhance economic development. The CDC provides a portion of the financing in addition to an amount borrowed from a bank. 504 loans cannot be used for working capital, inventory, or restructuring of existing debt. The CDC for Alaska is:
SBA Export Express Loan
Offers loans targeted at businesses that are able to generate export sales but need additional working capital to support these opportunities.
SBA Export Working Capital Loan
Gives term loans that are designed for businesses that plan to start/continue exporting or those that that have been adversely affected by competition from imports. The proceeds of the loan must enable the borrower to be in a better position to compete.
SBA International Trade Loans
The International Trade Loan Program offers term loans for fixed assets and working capital to businesses that plan to start or continue exporting, or that have been adversely affected by competition from imports and need to retool to become more competitive. The proceeds of the loan must enable the borrower to be in a better position to compete. The program provides the lender with a 90% guaranty on loans up to $5 million.
SBA Patriot Express Pilot Loan Initiative
Offers funds to eligible small businesses to meet ordinary and necessary operating expenses that could have been met, but are unable to meet, because an essential employee was "called-up" to active duty in their role as a military reservist.
Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan
The Military Reservist Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (MREIDL) provides funds to help an eligible small business meet ordinary and necessary operating expenses that it could have met, but is unable to meet, because an essential employee was called-up to active duty in their role as a military reservist.
WOMEN$FUND- YWCA of Anchorage
245 W. 5th Avenue
P.O. Box 102059
Anchorage, AK 99510
WOMEN$Fund (YWCA, Anchorage) is a women's microlending program committed to providing training, networking, business counseling, and start-up loans to Anchorage entrepreneurial women. Women can receive extensive training in writing a business plan, applying for a loan, setting up accounting system and complying with tax requirements. Participants have access to WOMEN$fund loan fund, weekly group support, business counselor and networking opportunities.
ACCION is a private nonprofit organization that offers small business loans of up to $25,000 to business owners who may have trouble accessing commercial loans. They offer special programs for women- and minority-owned businesses. You can also list your products and services with ACCION to let purchasers know about your business.
A surety bond is an instrument that is signed by the Principal (or Contractor) and the Surety Company in order to protect the interests of the Obligee (the buyer, or party issuing the contract) in the event the Principal defaults on the contract. A surety bond is acquired by the Principal from the Surety Company for a fee, as a sort of insurance policy to protect the Obligee. If the Principal defaults, the Surety Company steps in to ensure the contract is completed. More Info
Tax-exempt bonds are debt securities issued by a state or local government development agency on behalf of a private business. Once issued, tax-exempt bonds are sold in the open market or purchased by investors or financial institutions. Interest income earned by the bond purchaser is exempt from state and local taxes, which allows the lender to pass savings to the borrower in the form of lower interest rates. More Info
PO Box 241126
Anchorage, AK 99524
Alaska InvestNet’s (AIN) purpose is to create wealth and jobs in the 49th State. InvestNet links Alaska’s most talented entrepreneurs to local financial support, critical for their growing enterprises. Local private equity investments keep entrepreneurial talent and
Angel Capital Association (ACA)
A nonprofit organization, ACA is an alliance of nearly 200 angel organizations in the United States and Canada. The ACA directory includes a link to the website of each member organization.
Crowd Funding is a relatively new online funding mechanism that has been successfully used by businesses around the world to fund projects, start-ups and expansions. For more information on crowdfunding, CLICK HERE.
33needs 33needs enables everyone to invest, make a social impact, and earn financial rewards. Promoting business-led solutions to our world’s biggest needs, it provides crowdfunding for social entrepreneurs, social enterprises and companies with a social mission. Ventures are organized under these categories: the planet, education, community, health, opportunity, and sustainable food. Investment dollars are exchanged for rewards offered by crowdfunded companies, as well as points to redeem for special offers.
appbackr Appbackr is a wholesale marketplace for mobile phone apps. The developer posts an app or app-in-development to the appbackr marketplace. Backers can purchase a bulk of apps wholesale, and the developer receives immediate payment. Backers can view monthly sales reports and the daily run rate of purchased apps on the appbackr dashboard. The developer must be a registered Apple or Android developer.
Buzzbnk is a crowdfunding platform especially for social enterprises that allow funders to donate either money or time to support social enterprises working in a wide variety of fields. Though based in the UK, it is open to social ventures operating anywhere in the world. Social enterprises must submit their project proposal to Buzzbnk and the Buzzbnk team will work with the social enterprise to help develop appropriate fundraising targets and benefits or rewards to offer funders.
CauseVox offers nonprofit organizations a fully customizable fundraising page that makes collecting money from supporters easy. Supporters can also create their own personalized fundraising pages. Social media integration makes it easy to embed YouTube videos, Flickr slideshows and more.
ChipIn ChipIn is a web-based service that simplifies the process of collecting money from groups of people. Embed the ChipIn widget into your website, or on MySpace, Typepad, Blogger, Netvibes, or any web page where you can paste a few lines of HTML. Your contributors can track your progress on the widget and chip in directly to your PayPal account. ChipIn is free. Transactions are subject to PayPal payment processing fees.
CoFolio A Crowdfunding Website to Help Fund Local Small Businesses. This one seems to be new, so it may be a little while before we see it really take off. None the less, I love what they’re doing. It’s all about keeping things local here, and helping the small businesses. Still wonder how this crowdfunding website will succeed though, since the majority of angel investors still try to follow in the VC’s footsteps. What’s wrong with having a portfolio of small local businesses, like restaurants?
Cofundos Cofundos crowdfunds open-source software projects. Open source software ideas are submitted and discussed. Requirements are defined. Specialists offer estimates on completing the project. Bidders select the specialists and donate bid amounts.
FansNextdoor FansNextdoor is a platform for all creative professionals to promote and fund their projects together with their fans. Create your project, its financing goal and deadline. If the financing goal is met or exceeded by deadline, all contributions are transferred to your PayPal account. If the financing goal is not met, all funds are returned. FansNextdoor is currently free, but lists a fee target of 3 percent. Transactions are subject to PayPal fees.
Give.fm allows nonprofits and individuals to set up a campaign to raise money for causes ranging from local soccer teams to international efforts to fight poverty, hunger, disease, environmental degradation and more. The site works by allowing donors to set up recurring microdonations of as little as 10 cents per day.
IndieGoGo IndieGoGo offers anyone with an idea — creative, cause-related, entrepreneurial — the tools to build a campaign and raise money. Project categories include gaming, film, design, education, mobile, and technology. Integrates with Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. Offers a widget to showcase your campaign on your website. Unlike many crowdfunding sites, you keep all the money you raise, even if you don’t meet your goal. Track contributions with the analytics tools and stay on top of fulfillment with the dashboard. There is a 4 percent fee on the money you raise when you meet your funding goal. Third party payment processing fees also apply.
Kickstarter Kickstarter claims to be the largest funding platform for creative projects in the world. Kickstarter grabbed the crowdfunding spotlight after the open source Facebook alternative Diaspora raised more than $200,000 on the site. Kickstarter projects must be fully funded before funding time expires or no money changes hands. Project creators are required to offer rewards — products, benefits, and experiences — to project backers. Integrates with Facebook, Twitter, and offers a widget for your website. Kickstarter charges a 5 percent fee, in addition to third party processing fees.
MicroVentures MicroVentures targets companies that are creating technologies, products and services in core areas, such as business products, consumer products, electronics, online technology, and more. Submit your business plan and $100. If you are approved, your business will be listed on the website for investors to fund. MicroVentures charges 10 percent of the offering amount, if the offering is completed.
New Jelly A Crowdfunding website for Artists. New Jelly’s crowdfunding website focuses on helping artists and films get up off the ground. An industry that’s suffering more and more everyday, I’m glad to see someone like New Jelly reach out to them.
peerbackers Peerbackers is for business owners to raise capital from their peers — in small increments — in exchange for tangible rewards. Create a personal and venture profile. Share your story through social media share buttons on your project page. Once your campaign is lau nched, send updates on your progress. If you reach at least 80 percent of your funding goal by deadline, your funding is released to you. Peerbackers charges a 5 percent fee, in addition to third party processing fees.
Pozible Pozible is an Australian crowdfunding website. Post your project and presell tangible and intangible rewards. Each project has a funding goal and a time limit set by the creator. If your funding is successful by the deadline, all funds are transferred. If your funding is not successful, all funds are returned. Pozible charges a 5 percent fee for invitees, or 7.5 percent for standard users, on top of third party processing fees.
ProFounder ProFounder is a crowdfunding platform for entrepreneurs to raise investment capital from their communities. With ProFounder tools, you plan your fundraising, create your pitch, and offer terms. You choose how much revenue to share and how long (the number of years) you’ll share it. Because this is not a loan, your payments to your investors are not fixed, and depend only upon your success. And because this isn’t equity either, you give up no control or ownership of your company. Each quarter throughout the investment term, ProFounder helps you calculate payments that each investor is due and manage the distribution of funds owed. Profounder charges up to a 5 percent fee of the total funding.
Quirky Quirky offers product designers and inventors the chance to bring their products to market. Submit your idea for $10. If your idea is selected and brought to market, you’ll earn a share of the revenues. Influence the communal product development process and you’ll also earn a share of the revenue.
Razoo is a crowdfunding platform for nonprofits and charities that allows individuals, organizations, corporations and foundations to set up a fundraising page to raise money for their own cause or their other cause of choice. Razoo also allows team campaigns.
RocketHub RocketHub is a community for "creatives and fuelers" — those with projects and those who contribute. Submit your project to the "Launchpad" for fueling. Users earn rewards and badges, designed to display dedication, enthusiasm, experience and success. Keep any money raised. RocketHub charges a flat 8 percent if your venture meets its financial goal, including payment-processing fees.
Sponsume is a crowdfunding startup, launched in 2010, that allows both creative projects and social enterprises to raise funding on the site. Sponsume is currently free to use, but does plan to start charging fees in the future.
Spot.us is a one-of-a-kind crowdfunding platform that supports citizen journalists by funding their investigations of specific topics. Spot.us can be a very useful tool for organizations seeking to raise awareness through hard-hitting investigative journalism, community reporting or similar means.
Start Some Good is a new crowdfunding startup that launched in February with the goal of connecting social entrepreneurs with crowdfunded venture capital. Start Some Good allows both for-profit and nonprofit social enterprises to post fundraising campaigns to the site. Team members will help review the campaign’s goals and rewards to ensure they’re a good match for Start Some Good’s philosophy.
Startup Addict crowdfunding website still appears to be fairly new, but unlike the others we’ve seen…it doesn’t have a particular niche focus other than helping Entrepreneurs get their business launched. This could be good, depending if you don’t fit into the “niche” categories other crowdfunding websites are aiming towards, like “creative projects” or “inventors”.
If you’re thinking of relocating or expanding to a new location, once you have your financing sorted out, you need to decide where you’re going to end up. In order to ensure you pick the best location, you need the best data. There are two important tools you can use to secure that data.
AnchorageProspector.com is a joint effort between the Anchorage Economic Development Corporation (AEDC), the Alaska Industrial Development and Export Authority (AIDEA) and the Alaska Multiple Listing Service (AKMLS) to provide high quality, GIS based, labor, demographic, business and commercial real estate information to businesses in the Southcentral region free of charge. The AnchorageProspector.com tool allows you to search for available commercial real estate using a wide variety of filters including available workforce, geographic location, size, cost, etc. You can also map out the businesses in that location, and determine market saturation. It’s a powerful tool that allows you to conduct your own preliminary market research and identify the realtors that represent properties that suit your needs.
This brings us to the second tool that you can use to find the best location for your expansion: local commercial realtors. The following list represents the largest commercial realtor firms in Anchorage.
Bond, Stephens & Johnson, Inc. - Commercial Real Estate Services
3201 C Street, Suite 200,
Anchorage, Alaska 99503
Jack White Commercial Real Estate
3801 Centerpoint Drive #400
Anchorage, Alaska 99503
Phone: (907) 563-5500
Fax: (907) 762-1838
Toll Free: (800) 770-2001
Frampton and Opinsky Commercial Real Estate
2525 Blueberry Rd, Ste 204
Anchorage, Alaska 99503
Telephone: (907) 276-1007
Fax: (907) 258-4207
Anchorage offers a variety of options for getting the word out about your business and the new expansion or relocation you’re engaged in. Ideally, you will want to enlist the services of a marketing firm such as the ones listed here (full disclosure, these marketing firms are AEDC investor companies that we have worked with extensively and can recommend from personal experience):