How to Tap Into External Funding Opportunities to Expand Your Venture

Two people shaking hands with three people standing around them with a brick wall in the background.
Photo by RODNAE Productions

When it comes to entrepreneurship, securing funding is often a key driver for growth and success. While many early-stage entrepreneurs start by tapping personal savings and loans from family and friends, external funding sources provide opportunities to fuel business growth and innovation. 

From traditional investors to government grants, tapping into these sources can provide the capital needed to scale operations, develop products, and expand to new markets. Here’s an overview of the landscape of external funding sources and their significance for entrepreneurs.

Venture Capitalists and Angel Investors

Venture capitalists (VCs) and angel investors play a pivotal role in financing early-stage startups with high growth potential. VCs typically invest larger sums of capital in exchange for equity stakes, while angel investors provide financial backing in return for ownership equity or convertible debt. Beyond capital infusion, both VCs and angel investors bring valuable expertise, industry connections, and mentorship to the table, enabling startups to navigate the challenges of scaling their operations and standing out in competitive markets. For example, consider a tech startup developing a disruptive software solution. By securing funding from VCs or angel investors, the startup can accelerate product development, hire top talent, and expand its customer base, ultimately positioning itself for long-term success.

A local founder, Justin Moore of Agoge, shared with us, “The best way to raise capital is to get customers to buy and use your product. If you don’t have a product yet, build a tangible or working MVP (minimal viable product) that can show potential customers and investors what you are working on,” he added, “then be willing to pivot based on this input! YouTube started out as a dating website, it pivoted based on feedback and things seemed to work out.”


Four people sitting and smiling at a pitch contest event
Justin Moore of Agoge and fellow entrepreneurs at the Chandler Endeavor Venture Innovation Incubator

Crowdfunding Platforms

Crowdfunding platforms have revolutionized the fundraising landscape, empowering entrepreneurs to raise capital from people all over the world. Platforms like Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and GoFundMe enable entrepreneurs to showcase their projects or products and solicit financial contributions in exchange for rewards or pre-orders. Crowdfunding campaigns provide capital and serve as effective marketing tools, allowing entrepreneurs to validate market demand, engage with potential customers, and generate buzz around their offerings. For instance, if a sustainable fashion brand was seeking funding to launch a new line of eco-friendly clothing, it could launch a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter. The brand can tap into a community of environmentally conscious consumers, raise awareness about its products, and secure funding to bring its vision to life.

Government Grants

Government agencies at the federal, state, and local levels offer grants and subsidies to support economic development, innovation, and job creation–all key elements of entrepreneurship. These funding programs span various industries, from technology and healthcare to agriculture and renewable energy. For example, a biotech startup conducting groundbreaking research in healthcare may be eligible for government grants to support its R&D efforts. By securing funding from government sources, the startup can accelerate its research, attract top talent, and bring life-saving therapies to market, ultimately benefiting society as a whole.

Corporate Sponsorships and Partnerships

Corporate sponsorships and partnerships present strategic opportunities for startups to build relationships and access capital, resources, and market exposure. Established companies may provide financial support, in-kind contributions, or access to distribution channels in exchange for branding opportunities or collaboration agreements. For instance, a food tech startup developing innovative plant-based alternatives may partner with a major food manufacturer. The startup can leverage the manufacturer’s production facilities, distribution networks, and brand recognition to bring its products to a wider audience, driving growth and market penetration.


Six people looking at a laptop with bright windows in the background.
Photo by Susannah Townsend from Corelens

Finding Funding Opportunities That Fit Your Journey

Tapping into external funding sources is essential for entrepreneurs seeking to scale their businesses and achieve long-term success. From venture capitalists and crowdfunding platforms to government grants and corporate partnerships, the diverse array of funding opportunities enables entrepreneurs to access the capital, resources, and support needed to turn their visions into reality. 

There’s still a lot of ground to cover in improving access to funding for underrepresented entrepreneurs. To improve this reality, some VCs are proactively seeking out and championing diverse talent across all levels and establishing funds dedicated to women and diverse founding teams. For those diverse entrepreneurs who may be overlooked, there are resources tailored for underrepresented founders like The Google for Startups Founders Funds and venture funds like Chingona Ventures.

By leveraging external funding sources, entrepreneurs can accelerate growth, drive innovation, and make a lasting impact on the business world and beyond. A great place to start is to take a look at local entrepreneurial programs like Edson E+I’s Chandler Endeavor Venture Innovation Incubator to get the advice and access you need to choose which funding approach works best for where you are headed.


Dania Alcala-Calvillo

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