How to Support Entrepreneurs Online

Group of young hipster friends with computer in urban studio

So you want to invest in a small business – or just lend a helping hand? With the buzz constantly surrounding Silicon Valley, Salt Lake City, the Big Apple, and many other ‘start-up cities’ in the States, it can be intimidating to find a way into the market.
Here are the top investment and support sites aimed to make the investment process easier and more accessible to the masses. On your mark, get set, indieGOgo. GOfundme, get kickSTARTed, and blast off!
Started as a site to fund independent films, Indiegogo has expanded into the world’s largest fundraising site. Businesses, nonprofits and individuals can submit projects for investment by specifying the monetary goal, a time period and the plan behind the fundraising goal. Contributing is easy. Just create a profile, enter in the amount you would like to invest and submit.

Search for small-businesses investments by clicking Explore then Small Business under categories.

Similar to Indiegogo, GoFundMe is a highly recognized fundraising site for individuals and businesses alike. Project descriptions are submitted along with monetary goals and investment perks and donating is quick and easy. It is also integrated with Facebook, making it easy to share the projects you are promoting or backing.

To find a small-business, click Business under categories and search for keywords, enter the desired location or simply browse the selection of hundreds of businesses.

Kickstarter’s mission is to bring creative ideas to life. Since its launch in 2009, 9 million people have backed projected submitted on this site. Entrepreneurs submit projects they want to create or take to the next level be it organic baby food to rap music video production. Like Indiegogo and GoFundMe, descriptions, monetary goals and a timeline are presented. Search by category, location or popularity to find the venture right for your investment.

Funding Circle
For a more structured approach, Funding Circle presents small businesses with proven financial records and strategic plans for growth. You can select listed businesses on your own to invest in, or set your investment criteria and Funding Circle will automatically build a portfolio. With roots in the US, this company has lent more than $1.5 billion to about 12,000 businesses and recently expanded to Europe.

From art to science to entrepreneurship, RocketHub puts projects in front of investors in a Pinterest format to show the needs, timeline and general information about the endeavor. Activity, conversations and information regarding the project leaders are provided. Browse the thousands of entries and simply click to help fund the project.
And don’t forget that supporting small-businesses doesn’t always have to be a full-on investment. Find out if a small-business has an online store or Amazon brand page and buy its products online. Sometimes sales is the best way for a small business to recognize its growth goals.