Kedma Ough is the author of the book Target Funding: A Proven System to Get the Money and Resources You Need to Start or Grow Your Business. She is an entrepreneur and business development expert based in Portland, Oregon.
Q: Why did you decide to write this book, and who do you see as your ideal reader?
A: Back in 2001 I was faced with one of the most difficult life-changing financial experiences I had ever been dealt. The choice to file bankruptcy was presented because of a relationship break-up. It was a very difficult decision and after filing bankruptcy I had no idea how I would move forward.
Two weeks after filing, I received a credit card for $200.00 from Capital One. Amazed and confused by the situation at hand, I remembered as a young girl playing countless hours of the game Monopoly. There were so many times in the game where I was struggling to stay in the game, however once I passed GO I was able to collect $200 dollars.
It was that spark that challenged my mind to gamify my situation and ask myself "What if I go on a journey to discover and uncover every grant and funding source available to others in my predicament?"
After more than 15 years of research, I decided to write the book for everyday entrepreneurs, inventors, solopreneurs, and small businesses that wanted to obtain grants, funds, and resources even if their bank wasn't able to offer them any loans.
Q: How did you come up with the concept of Target Funding, and can you give a brief definition?
A: Target Funding is a spin-off of Target Marketing. It is the idea that each funding is tied to a specific variable. The variable could be based on one's geographic location, gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, religion, industry, and more.
Here is an example: A few years ago, Prosper Portland was offering a $25,000 grant per year with the ability to renew for five years for a total of $125,000 in grants and services.
The variables were very specific. The business owner had to be based in Multonomah County, requesting working capital, considered a small business (500 employees or less), be classified as a minority-owned business, and their business needed to be in the cannabis industry. If you didn't meet those variables you weren't eligible for the funds.
Q: How would you say the world of entrepreneurship has changed in recent decades, and what do you see looking ahead?
A: It is ever-changing and I spend a lot of time studying trends.
Currently as I write, we are on a state lockdown because of Covid-19 and there will be permanent changes to entrepreneurship as a result.
We will see more online businesses that focus on healthcare, education, consulting, as well as a continued increase in the purchase of goods and services. We also see a significant increase in the number of women-owned and minority-owned businesses as well as an influx of baby boomers starting a business.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from this book?
A: A roadmap to identifying targeted funds. As I write this response, Verizon is offering a grant to women, minority, and veteran entrepreneurs in relation to Covid-19. The point is that if you can understand how I target the funds, you can begin to target funds specifically for your needs.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am finalizing a comprehensive online training program for Target Funding so I can help more entrepreneurs tap in to the world of funding. In addition, we are working on a database that will allow quicker access to funds that have sensitive timelines.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: Unfortunately, there are a lot of financial scammers that take advantage of business owners when they are at their lowest moments. It is absolutely necessary to have a financial navigator you can trust as you build your companies.
While I hold an MBA and have worked with more than 10,000 entrepreneurs, it is the testimonials and recommendations from other business owners that I have counseled that matters that most. I love helping others achieve their dreams without going into debt.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb