Microloans are small loans, often less than $10,000, to help small businesses get started and grow. In many cases, microloan programs have a social bent and attempt to stimulate businesses in struggling communities or companies that are owned by women or minorities; there are other microloans that are available to anyone. If you are thinking about opening a small business and you have moderate financing needs, you may want to look into microfinancing options in Canada.
Community Micro Lending
Community Micro Lending is a nonprofit organization offering peer-to-peer loans to small business owners. You may apply for startup loans worth $500 to $5,000 or business expansion loans worth $5,000 to $10,000. Essentially, people who want to fund local enterprises and earn a bit of interest along the way can sign up to be lenders. Prospective borrowers create a profile explaining their business dreams, and lenders offer loans to borrowers based on that information as well as some supplemental details about credit history, income, and other factors.
Immigrant Access Fund
Designed to help newcomers succeed in Canada, the Immigrant Access Fund Micro Loans program extends loans to tradespeople, professionals, and skilled workers who have recently immigrated to Canada. If you qualify, you may receive a loan worth up to $10,000 to obtain the licencing or training you need to work in your field in Canada. This program does not necessarily help you start a business, but it can help you get the right certifications and other materials in place so you can get a job or open your own business. There are also provincial versions of this program such as the Canada Microcredit Educators Group of Prince Edward Island.
The DIVERSEcity Microloans Program is also geared toward immigrant borrowers living in mainland Canada, but this program has three different type of microloans:
Designed to help you start a business, the Be My Own Boss Loan is worth up to $35,000.
The With These Hands Loan provides between $500 and $7,500 to buy tools of the trade, and you may use these tools to work as a subcontractor or a self-employed individual.
The Back to Work Loan is for trained professionals who need help paying for Canadian certification, and it is also worth $500 to $7,500.
Available in Newfoundland and Labrador, the Kick$tart program offers loans up to $5,000 to aspiring entrepreneurs under the age of 35. Even kids under the age of 18 can apply with a guardian’s signature. The loans can be used for research and development, startup costs, or business expansion, and other purposes.
Similar programs exist in other areas. For example, in New Brunswick, the Student Entrepreneurship Program provides up to $3,000 for to students who want to start businesses during the summer break. The business must have at least one full-time employee and provide the borrower with a valuable business experience.