Crowdfunding—raising small amounts of money from large numbers of donors—has helped thousands of artists, filmmakers, and other creatives turn their ideas into reality. Now it’s becoming a fresh source of funds for small businesses, too. The 2012 JOBS Act eliminated a legal obstacle to business crowdfunding that had required investors to be “accredited” (loosely defined as having a high net worth). The Securities and Exchange Commission hasn’t yet defined how the act will be implemented, but when it does—perhaps later this year or early next—anyone willing to take the risk will be able to invest.
Here are five top sites connecting small businesses with the crowds.
Matches local businesses and start-ups (typically with 15 or fewer employees) with locally-minded individual investors as well as banks.
A top site for creative and cause-oriented crowdfunding, it also has a business category for national and international projects, including the first dog-friendly café in Athens.
Donald Trump is backing this site, which includes small-business ideas, and he highlights his own favorites among the offerings.
At this small business–only site, investors can choose to receive rewards or equity in exchange for their funding.
The focus here is on young companies offering consumer products.
To learn whether crowdfunding is right for you, read this from the Small Business Administration: