Home / Dollars & Sense  / Sugar rush! How to fund a sweets (or any food) business

Sugar rush! How to fund a sweets (or any food) business

How can you find funds to cook up those sweet ideas? 

Starting a new business is always financially challenging. You need money for ingredients, packaging,  marketing, access to a commercial kitchen…the list is long.  How do start-up food companies find funds? Entrepreneur Magazine prepared this list of options for small businesses.

Ask friends and family for money.

Pros? These people love you and care about your success. Cons? You don’t want to let them down and tensions can run high if you can’t repay a loan. Or, if your business takes off, they may want to have more of a say in how you run it.

Seek a private loan, small business loan or consider credit cards as a temporary fix.

Pros? You can get started building that business! Cons? You may be starting your business with high-interest debt.

Lisa Olin of Cake Monkey Bakery said she used the line of credit on her house to get her pastry business off the ground. A few years later, she grew it with an SBA loan. Now the company ships products nationwide.

Tap into angel and seed investors.

37 Angels has a list of venture capitalists on the look out for women founders. And Edible Ventures focuses just on investing in food businesses.


The money you’ve saved on your own time is always an option.  Pros? You don’t owe money to anyone. Cons? It’s tough to easily fund a business on your own and can be a daily struggle to make ends meet.

Seacoast Sweets founder Kirstyn Pearl was a financial analyst by day and gourmet chocolatier by night in order save the money to launch her business in 2015. She later secured outside funding and crowdfunded $43K. The Boston Globe featured her last year.


Sites like GoFundMe and Kickstarter can be effective but you’re competing with charity organizations and lots of cool inventions. Getting lost in the sea of asks is easy.

Cheryl Clements, PieShell founder, says crowdfunding comes with unexpected perks. PieShell offers a niche platform for food and beverage companies to secure funding. And guess who’s visiting the site? Foodies in media, angel investors, venture capitalists, equity crowdfunding platforms, e-commerce sites and corporate players. Plus, her site has a marketing benefit. She says:

“Crowdfunding brings you closer to your customers – something that’s crucial for startup success. Branching out beyond friends and family helps you learn what your customers like about your product — and what they don’t.”

Dive in to Shark Tank.

Don’t rule it out. Even if you don’t get funded, you’ll get immediate media exposure for your brand, which could lead to more sales. Take this ice cream business for instance.

No matter how you choose to raise money…

Have a tight and realistic business plan. Know EXACTLY how you will spend every dollar and be sure you have contingency plans. Here are great pitching tips, including advice from the Sharks themselves. Securing investments is no piece of cake, but if you’re well prepared you may find the funds you need.