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Offbeat ways to finance a small business

Look at local investment groups
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Look at local investment groups

There may be people right in your backyard willing to lend you some cash.

Organizations such as Slow Money and Local Investing Opportunity Network, or Lion, focus on local citizen financing and are gaining traction.

The idea behind these local investing, or "locavesting," groups is to pool local investors' money to make low-interest loans to small businesses.

Both Slow Money and Lion have formed local chapters around the country. In Maine, "No Small Potatoes" is one of 12 state chapters of Slow Money, which focuses exclusively on lending funds to food businesses. The group is comprised of 20 members that have awarded loans, ranging from $5,000 to $15,000, to three Maine businesses.

"These types of local investment group loans are ideal for businesses that don't qualify for a traditional loan at a bank," says Michael Bartner, associate director for the Slow Money chapter in Brookline, Mass.


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