Susan Matthews was certain she had a winning business idea seven years ago when she invented a horseshoe-shaped support pillow for babies, called a "boppy." With a $25,000 loan from a microlender, the Golden, Colo., entrepreneur set out to build her empire, Camp Kazoo Ltd.

As sales grew, however, Ms. Matthews found that local banks were unable- or unwilling-to help her through the periods when suppliers' bills were due but customers hadn't paid theirs.

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