The excitement of starting a business is usually clouded by the reality of not having the funds to sustain it. For most women entrepreneurs, getting adequate funds to start a new business or maintain an existing one is quite an uphill task.
Generally, it takes time to run a business, and you shouldn’t have to spend all that time thinking of how to raise funds. So while you might have been running your business with funds from family, friends, and savings, you should also consider loans or grants.
There are a variety of grants, business loans and funding for women in Canada. However, before deciding to take a loan, you need to be aware of the types of loans you can obtain as a businesswoman in Canada and the general requirements for obtaining a loan.
Here are some things you should be aware of:
What Types of Loans Can You Get?
Women can get business loans in Canada for different purposes. There are loans for;
- Equipment and heavy machinery
- Commercial leasing
- Commercial mortgage loans
- Government financing like grants, income support, hiring/training subsidies, etc.
- Bad credit small business loans
- Loans and programs to consolidate business debt
- Business credit cards and lines of credit
- Leasing and financing for company vehicles
What Industries are Eligible for Business Financing?
Almost any legal, woman-run business in Canada is eligible for business loans and financing programs, no matter the industry.
Does your credit matter when you are applying for a business loan?
Yes, it does. This is because before lenders can give you a loan, they will need to confirm that you have the financial capacity to pay them back. Good credit health could ensure that you get the loan you need to grow your business. Lenders will validate your credit health by inspecting your;
The credit report is a detailed file that includes a history of all that has happened on your credit accounts. It will show your potential lender if you have activated and used, or been denied a credit or loan product of any kind in the past. If your credit report looks good, you will most likely get a more affordable interest rate from your lender.
Lenders will also view your credit score along with your credit report. The credit score ranges from 300 to 900 in Canada. It is a simple way of showing your credit health and strength as a credit user.
A score that is close to 900 will make you more worthy of your lender. Having a credit score that is from 680 and above means, you have an excellent chance of getting a loan and favourable interest rates.
Credit and Payment Histories
Attached to your credit report are your history of credit usage and debt payment. Your credit history shows the different types of credit and loan products that you have been using. Your payment history, on the other hand, shows the lender how you have been faring as regards repayments.
Other Factors to Consider:
Besides your credit and payment history, to get a good business loan with attractive rates, you should have a sound;
- Business Plan
- Credit Rating
- Net-Worth and Personal Profile
- Employment History
- Consumer Proposals
- Gross Monthly and Yearly Income
- Assets Valuations
- Ability to get a cosigner
- no bankruptcies
Business Loans for Women in Canada
Below are some of the places you can get a loan as a businesswoman in Canada
The Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Women in Business Initiative focuses on helping women access finances for their business. It has partnered with Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs) throughout the Eastern region. It has more than 40 CBDCs and a multitude of urban lenders as part of its program.
CBDCs offer first-time entrepreneur loans to women that are just starting their business. It also provides general business and innovation loans to women seeking to expand and develop their businesses.
Paro Centre for Women’s Enterprise is located in Thunder Bay, Ontario. The center operates more than 30 peer lending circles throughout the Thunder Bay, Greenstone, Patricia, and Superior North regions. Each group is made up of four to seven women who meet monthly to exchange advice, provide support, approve, guarantee each other’s loans, and monitor payments.
The Paro Centre also offers business development programs to women in Canada who are unemployed and eligible for Employment Insurance (EI). Women receive Self-Employment Benefits (SEB) for the duration of the program.
Femmessor — Réussir en affaires, depending on your region and the nature of your business, this organization offers between $5,000 and $35,000 in loans for a maximum of five years. They also provide customized training, mentoring, coaching, and networking assistance.
Women’s Enterprise Initiative Loan Program (WEI) this non-profit through the Western Economic Diversification Canada (WEDC) has offices in all of the four western provinces and offers loans of up to $150,000 to women for start-up, expansion, or the acquisition of an already existing business.
- Women’s Enterprise Centre of BC provides up to $150,000 in small business loans for women.
- Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE)offers the addition of a business adviser with a maximum of $150,000. Your business adviser will help in the preparation of a business plan and the loan process.
- Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Inc.: grants small business loans of up to $150,000 to women.
- Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba requires you to submit a complete business plan along with your loan application. You can get a maximum of $150,000 from this centre and a business analyst will be assigned to you throughout the process.
Other places to access financing for women in Canada
- Women’s Enterprise Centre (British Columbia)
- Microlending for Woman in Ontario Program
Funding for Women Entrepreneurs
Apart from loans, there are also some other forms of financing available to businesswomen in Canada
- Women in Trade – Export Development Canada (EDC) for insurance solutions to protect your exports, working capital and financing options.
- Woman entrepreneur – Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is for financing to fuel growth.
- Women in Technology (WIT) Fund – Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) venture capital for Canadian technology businesses.
- Futurpreneur Canada helps to finance, mentor and support aspiring Canadian entrepreneurs aged 18–39.
- Women Entrepreneurship Fund – Startup Canada is a micro-grant for Canadian entrepreneurs in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM).
- Canadian Technology Accelerators (CTA) helps Canadian companies with existing technology, product or service to explore vast opportunities in foreign markets.
Support Organizations for Women Entrepreneurs
As a businesswoman in Canada, you will soon find that having the desired funds is not all that you need. A lot of times, it is very beneficial to interact with other businesswomen or organizations for support. Several support organizations have been created for women entrepreneurs in Canada. Below are a few:
- Women Business Enterprise (WBE) Canada Certification
This was designed to increase your access to contract opportunities in Canada and abroad.
- Prince Edward Island (PEI) Business Women’s Association
The PEI Business Women’s Association for women entrepreneurs on Prince Edward Island and is a network of empowered and inspiring women.
- Women in Business New Brunswick
This caters to women who own at least half of their businesses. It provides you access to support and resources to help grow your business and succeed.
- Women’s Policy Office
Located at Newfoundland Labrador and a good support system for women in that region.
- Business Women in International Trade
Specially designed for entrepreneurial moms looking to be empowered, connect and learn from other mom entrepreneurs (mompreneurs) across Canada.
- Women Entrepreneurship Strategy
This is a support group that helps you grow your women-owned business through access to financing, talent, networks, and expertise.