A Few Words About Us

At Alternative Funding Options (AFO), we work with companies in need of financing and connect them to the right funding sources. This may be with a bank or alternative lender depending on what your company qualifies for. It can be very confusing and time-consuming to figure out who can get you approved and are offering the best rates and terms available. (AFO) saves you the time and effort of trying to find the best solution. Your money can’t be trusted just to anyone, you need someone with experience, knowledge and the real desire to take the time to understand your business and its needs.

Company Leadership

head shotCheryl O’Neill-Gowen – As CEO/President of Alternative Funding Options, Cheryl has helped business owners for over 30 years seek financing. She decided to start her own company in 2010 after realizing there were so many different funding options available to businesses. She conducted extensive research to find out which banks and other funding sources offer the best solutions depending on the financing needed, and what their criteria was for approval. This saves her customers valuable time and resources.

Cheryl’s experience includes over 12 years in the banking industry, 6 years in staffing, 3 years working as a small business owner, 3 years in the Professional Employer Organization (PEO) and 5 years in alternative financing.

Cheryl’s background has helped her understand the issues that business owners face on a day-to-day basis, especially those with cash flow.   Cheryl now has a strong desire to share her experiences and what she has learned with other business clients.


We Support Charitable Organizations

The Salvation Army – The organization was founded in 1852 and landed in America in 1880. “Doing the Most Good” – in these four words their mission is to feed, to clothe, to comfort and to care.

American Red Cross – Since 1881, the American Red Cross has worked to support your community during its greatest times of need. They provide relief to victims of disasters and help people prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies.

Boys and Girls Club – This organization is committed to impacting the Tampa Bay Community through its investment in the youth. They are not a place for kids to go after school, but a gateway to hope and opportunity. They offer those youth who need them most the chance to learn, excel and feel safe, while preparing them to be productive citizens.

Children’s Dream Fund – The Children’s Dream Fund was founded in 1981 with the single purpose of fulfilling dreams for children ages 3-18 that have been diagnosed with a life threatening illness.


  • “Cheryl O’Neil Gowen and the team at Alternative Funding Options were able to assist our practice in obtaining a significant loan with a large bank in record time (under two weeks). As our practice was rapidly expanding its geographic footprint at a national level, we found ourselves needing access to funds in order to successfully support our growth and continue our expansion without interruption. We attempted to obtain these funds through our existing banking relationships, and while they were helpful in their efforts, they were too slow to respond given our immediate need. Cheryl and her team worked diligently to ensure that our needs were expediently met. She introduced us to new banking relationships which could see and more importantly understand our growth trajectory and who were willing to partner with us throughout our expansion. Cheryl and the Alternative Funding Options team were able to take our frustrations and turn them into a tangible asset. I cannot recommend the Alternative Funding Options team enough to any business who finds themselves needing quick access to cash at fair and reasonable premiums.”
    James I. Okoh, MD, President & Chief Medical Officer National Radiology Consultants, PA
  • “As a small business it is very difficult to secure funding for my company. That's when I got introduced to Cheryl and within a short period of time she put together a sustainable alternative funding portfolio. This funding enabled us to support our rapid growth. I would recommend Cheryl to anybody who is looking for funding for their business.”
    Peter Dobler Senior Consultant & Database Expert
  • “If you aren't working with Cheryl currently, pick up the phone, call her, and see how she can help you or your clients. 

I had received a financing request from a company with a unique structure and background...after reviewing the request, the best fit for their business model and overall needs was not an SBA loan. 

This client was difficult to reach on a consistent basis and their responses were generally delayed, so I was absolutely stunned at how efficient and tenacious Cheryl was at facilitating the request, especially given the interesting structure of the business. 

Cheryl's enthusiasm for her area of expertise is palpable - she's an extremely effective finance professional. Thank you, Cheryl!”
    Tracy Mihalak, Business Development Officer Achieva Credit Union
  • “Cheryl is one of my top go-to contacts for financing alternatives. I have known her for over a year and she has proven herself to be creative and resouceful. Yesterday she spoke to SCORE Tampa. She was engaging and provided great insight on factoring and purchase order finance as well as other asset based loans. I highly recommend her as a presenter and financing resource.”
    Rochelle Walk, President
    Walk Law Firm, PA
  • “Cheryl has been a great source for alternative financing for my clients who are not able to get financing through traditional banking means. She provides a wide range of options and has been able to work with my clients to help with their financial needs. Very responsive, ethical, and easy to work with. Cheryl is the first and only resource I need for financial assistance for my clients.”
    Richard Cohen, M.Ed. Small Business Solutions

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