“Show me the money!” shout many small businesses needing capital. If you are looking for financing, don’t give up.

On Thursday, Sept. 17, small businesses throughout the North Bay will have the opportunity to hear about funding options for their businesses. Hosted by the Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center (SBDC), the Access to Capital event features expert panelists who offer guidelines on how small businesses can secure both traditional and alternative capital to start or grow their business.

The Access to Capital in the North Bay will be held at the Sonoma Mountain Village Event Center, 1100 Valley House Drive, Rohnert Park, from 5 to 8 p.m. The cost is $20, and includes wine and hors d’oeuvres and networking. Small business owners can meet one-on-one with lenders and local small business resources. To register, visit napasonomasbdc.org or call (707) 256-7250.

Who should attend? Entrepreneurs interested in alternative funding options, business startups, growing businesses interested in raising capital, and nonprofits.

“Though small business borrowing conditions continue to slowly improve in Napa and Sonoma County, many small business owners still struggle to meet the requirements of traditional lenders,” said Ben Stone, director of the Sonoma County Economic Development Board.

“Alternative lending programs have opened opportunities for businesses needing funding. The Access to Capital in the North Bay program is an opportunity for small business owners to learn about these programs and how to access funds.”

The panel presents crowdfunding, micro-loans, angel investment, SBA loans and express loans. The event will include a lender fair and networking with more than a dozen lending and technical assistance organizations, to help North Bay businesses access resources for start-up and expansion.

Capital Access Group, Celtic Bank, Working Solutions, North Bay Angels, Breakaway Funding, Redwood Credit Union and Mission Asset Fund will be featured at the Access to Capital event. The panel will be presented in English and in Spanish.

The goal of the event is to expose business owners and start-ups to financing options, and help them develop strategies to best seek support. It also addresses their best options for financing, geared at their current business stage and type.

At the Napa-Sonoma SBDC, the biggest challenge cited by small businesses is the lack of financial resources to grow and remain vital part of the economy. The National Small Business Association 2014 Year-end Economic Report says small firms cited “lack of available capital” as their top business challenge. In fact, one statistic says 50 percent of small businesses did not receive the financing they applied for in the first half of 2014.

There is a lot of excitement around innovation in lending, such as crowdfunding, express loans, and micro-loans. Small businesses have a lot more options to find a program that best fits their lending needs.

If you have questions about Access to Capital in the North Bay, call (707) 256-7250 or visit becatnvc.org/access-to-capital-north-bay/.

Mary Cervantes is the business services director for Napa Valley College Napa-Sonoma Small Business Development Center. Reach her at 256-7253 or mcervantes@napavalley.edu.


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