The key to getting a business financed when you lack personal wealth or connections to investors is to form relationships with bankers, say several Inc. 5000 CEOs. These are often loan officers at small, local banks who are willing to take the time to get to know an entrepreneur and discuss business plans. Anastasia Gentles, founder of Sugar Land, Texas-based Nightlight Pediatric Urgent Care (No. 2,306), says catching the ear of a female banker at Louisiana-based Whitney Bank who understood the importance of what she and her two co-founders were doing was the turning point in her business’s early days.

“My daddy doesn’t have deep pockets,” Gentles says. “There’s no family legacy to fall back on.” But a banker who was willing to take a chance on them and work out a loan plan helped get her business off the ground. This is Nightlight’s third appearance on the Inc. 5000, and in the past three years, its revenue jumped over 150 percent, to nearly $6 million in 2015. Its staff also more than doubled over the period, to 76, from 30 in 2012.

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