Today, at the Canadian Film Centre in Toronto, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development, celebrated International Women’s Day by announcing the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, the next phase of the $6-billion Women Entrepreneurship Strategy. The Minister was joined by Julie Dabrusin, Member of Parliament for Toronto–Danforth; Alison Kirkland, CEO of Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada; Wendy Curtis, Executive Director of the Northumberland Business Development Assistance Corp.; Shannin Metatawabin, CEO of the National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association; and Vicki Saunders (MA 1989), Founder of SheEO.
While progress has been made since the launch of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy in 2018, access to capital, particularly in smaller amounts, remains a significant barrier for many women entrepreneurs seeking to start or grow their businesses.
To help address this barrier and ensure that women entrepreneurs have the tools and financing they need to succeed, the Government of Canada allocated $55 million in Budget 2021 to support increased lending to women entrepreneurs.
The Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund will allocate funding to not-for-profit organizations with existing loan programs to enable them to provide additional affordable financing to women entrepreneurs, particularly for start-ups, under-represented groups or sole proprietorships that experience more difficulty in accessing financing.
The first four organizations selected to deliver microloans under this fund are:
- Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada
- Northumberland Business Development Assistance Corp.
- National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association
- SheEO Canada
Women entrepreneurs will be able to apply for loans of up to $50,000 through these organizations. Information on when they will be able to apply for the microloans will be available on the organizations’ websites and on the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund web page in the coming months.
Read the full news release here