Lucy Valena was mentally ready to become a coffee entrepreneur, but her wallet was not. She lacked savings and collateral, but she had determination. So, she reached out to the SBA. Rather than give her a loan, they told her to try the Samuel Adams Brewing the American Dream program. According to USA Today, she succeeded.

The loan funded espresso catering service Voltage Coffee, which “allowed me to meet people and make a name for the company,” she says.

As that business grew, she secured $150,000 in venture capital. Last November, Valena had a coffeehouse to call her own: Voltage Coffee & Art opened in Cambridge, Mass.

With some research, entrepreneurs can find unexpected loan providers, business grants, online lists of angel investors and business plan competitions that dole out cash prizes.

“A whole bunch of options have opened up,” says Paul Kedrosky, a senior fellow at Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, where he focuses on entrepreneurship, innovation and capital markets. “People have gotten much more comfortable with providing and receiving capital in new ways.”

Photo from Voltage Coffee