The Government of Canada has revealed the first four not-for-profits that will be delivering its Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund.
This group includes the Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC), National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA), Northumberland Development Assistance Corp (NCFDC), and SheEO Canada.
“Access to capital, by far, has been the top issue that has been raised as a barrier for women succeeding in business.”
-Minister Mary Ng
Through the federal government’s $55 million CAD Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, these organizations will provide micro-loans of up to $50,000 to women business owners and entrepreneurs so they can start and scale their companies and access new markets. Mary Ng, Canada’s minister of trade, exports, small business, and economic development, announced the news during a press conference this morning.
“This loan fund will put a particular focus on supporting startups, underrepresented groups, sole proprietorships that traditionally have experienced more difficulty in accessing financing,” said Ng. “Access to capital, by far, has been the top issue that has been raised as a barrier for women succeeding in business.”
In 2018, the Government of Canada launched its $6 billion Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) to support female entrepreneurs across the country. The WES consists of three pillars, including the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund, the Women Entrepreneurship Knowledge Hub, and the $105 million WES Ecosystem Fund.
“The first is addressing that very important issue of getting access to capital,” said Ng. “The other is having data. You need to have data to know and understand where the gaps are and what works, and it will support future decision-making. That third pillar, which I would say is crucial, is the [WES] Ecosystem Fund.”
This ecosystem consists of partner organizations that support women entrepreneurs across the country. “You’re meeting them today because they’re now taking on this additional work of handling these micro-loans,” said Ng.
The Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund program website notes that applications will open to women entrepreneurs to apply for loans “in the coming months.”
Ng promised more information regarding how to apply and access these loans “in the near future,” both on the program website and the pages of the organizations selected to deliver it.
Feature image from Minister Mary Ng via Twitter.