For small businesses looking for quick money, nontraditional sources of financing offer the infusion they often need to start up or stay afloat. A December 22, 2005, New York Times story profiles one Florida couple who, after not hearing from the SBA for weeks on a loan they applied for after their business was ravaged by Hurricane Ivan, turned to a local nonprofit that provided microloans for help. Within days the couple received the money it needed to pay the bills for its landscaping business and to begin to rebuild.

Microloans generally garner more attention as solutions for developing countries looking to help people become economically self-sufficient, but this financing option shouldn't be overlooked by U.S. businesses as a viable resource for smaller capital infusions. Many communities have local organizations that provide microloans. ACCION International, the winner of's Social Capitalist Award, for one, operates in at least 10 states in the U.S., and many other organizations are beginning to find value in providing microfinancing to needy businesses. So if you're out looking for financing this year to survive a cash flow crunch or purchase a few computers, don't forget to research your financing options thoroughly. You might find you have more options than you thought.