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BC Small Business Loans Guide

Save yourself time by skipping the process of looking through countless websites with hundreds of pages that don’t apply to your business needs. This loan guide is specifically geared towards small business owners in B.C., so all you need to do is read the key points and choose the loan that best suits your objectives. 

You may also opt for government grants. For additional information on BC grants for small and medium sized businesses, see this article

BC Startup and Business Expansion Loan Programs

A bank loan is great for investing in economic development priorities for the region, as well as helping to kick start a personal investment into yourself. If you’re a startup looking to get your feet off the ground, or an existing business with a bit of experience looking to expand operations, these loans are worth taking a look at. 

Community Futures Cowichan Micro Loans Program

What loan is it?

The Cowichan Micro Loans Program provides businesses with an extra boost of funding to implement new seasonal, part-time or full time projects. In addition to the loan, clients will also receive guidance from business advisors who help implement strategies to spark growth . 

You may use the loan for new projects or to purchase equipment, tools, inventory, or working capital. Micro loans can be put towards any business purpose directly related to the core business operations.

Loan amount and repayment terms

Loan amounts range between $500 to $5,000. Micro loan interest rates sit at 10%, with a 2% application fee upon successful applications. Depending on the client and the loan amount, the repayment terms range from 6 to 36 months.

How to qualify

In order to qualify for the micro loan you will need to fill out the downloadable application on their website. You must describe your business, target market, competition etc. Your application should demonstrate clear incentives on what you intend to use the money for and how the funding will support the growth of your business.

Basin Food Producer Loans

What loan is it?

The Basin Food Producer Loan is - as the name suggests - intended for food producers in Basin. This loan provides producers with working capital and equipment purchases so they can recover and expand operations due to increased pandemic-related demands. 

Loan amount and repayment terms

This is offered as a one-time loan and the minimum amount you may request is for $10,000. The interest rate is calculated at 2% per annum, with 0 interest charged for the first three months. Interest only payments will continue for the following nine months, afterwards payments will begin in amounts aimed to repay the loan over a maximum of a five year period.

How to qualify

For the business owner to successfully obtain this own, they must meet the following provisions: 

  • Earn their primary source of income through food production and sales
  • Have a minimum of $35,000 annual farm sales
  • Be operating and selling for at least two years
  • Be based in the Basin.

Food producers must also provide the following:

  • Most recent accountant prepared financial statements; or
  • Latest year’s Statement of Farming Activities (T2042).

Canada Small Business Financing Program

What loan is it?

The Canada Small Business Financing Program is a financial support initiative that collaborates with other financial institutions to help businesses fund the cost of:  

  • Acquiring or improving commercial land and buildings
  • Purchasing new or improving used equipment
  • Purchasing new or existing renovations to premises occupied by the business as a tenant

Loan amount and repayment terms

The borrower and lender will determine between themselves what the loan principal will be, along with the conditions of the loan agreement. The maximum loan amount an individual can secure through the Canadian Small Business Financing Program is $1 million, of which no more than $350,000 can be used to finance the purchase of leasehold improvements or the purchase or improvement of equipment.

How to qualify

Start ups and small businesses operating for profit in Canada, possessing gross annual revenues of $10 million or less are eligible. Other requirements include: 

  • Business operations take place in Canada, with a business location in Canada, and assets held in Canada meant for operations of the business 
  • The business must offer its products or services to the public, including retail and wholesale
  • During the fiscal year the CSBF loan is secured, the established business must have an estimated gross annual revenue not exceeding $10 million
  • At the time the CSBF loan approval for new businesses, its estimated gross annual revenues during the first 52 weeks of operation must not exceed $10 million.
  • Small businesses operated by foreign citizens are still eligible for the CSBF loan, as long as the place of business is in Canada and purchased assets are also used within Canada
  • A borrower can operate different businesses. For example, a person operating a sole proprietor, partnership, or a corporation, whose main activity is farming (an ineligible business) could incorporate a snow removal business, which would be eligible to obtain a CSBF loan for the purchase or improvement of assets needed for operations. 
  • A borrower operating in a service industry accompanied to agriculture is eligible to obtain financing; for example, a small business whose activity is to provide services to other farmers, such as harvesting services.

Small Business Working Capital Loans

What loan is it?

The Small Business Working Capital Loans supplies working capital and operating funds for Basin-based small businesses and social enterprises to help overcome the challenges that COVID-19 has presented. The funds provided by this loan may be used for business costs such as rent, wages, inventory, renovations, equipment purchase, personal protective equipment and capital expenses necessary for business re-opening or modifications.

Additionally, loan funds may be used for expenses related to technology adoption and implementation. Technology adoption includes, but is not limited to, front and back end office systems, e-commerce and digital transformation of business and/or manufacturing processes.

The funds from this loan can not cover debt repayment. 

Loan amount and repayment

This is a one time loan and the minimum amount given is $5000, with the maximum being $40, 000. No interest is charged for the first three months. Interest only payments will continue for the following nine months afterwards payments must be made to ensure the full repayment of the loan within a five year period.

You may still apply to this loan if you have received funding for other programs. 

How to qualify

Small businesses, both Indigenous and non-Indigenous, and social enterprises that are headquartered and operating in the Columbia Basin Trust region may qualify for this loan.

Your business must demonstrate: 

  • Sustainability
  • Revenue between $150,000 – $1,500,000
  • Business operations for a minimum of two years
  • Adequate insurance coverage

Businesses must provide: 

  • Its most recent accountant prepared financial statements; and
  • Its current profit and loss statement.
  • Other requirement may also be required

Minority and Indigenous Business Loan Programs

These loans are geared towards assisting minority groups by giving them the funds necessary to succeed in their business endeavours.

CFDC of CIFN Indigenous Business Loans

What loan is it?

Community Futures Development Corporation of Central Interior First Nations (CFDC of CIFN) provides Indigenous people with funding for economic development within the community of Central Interior of British Columbia. 

The CFDC of CIFN is devoted to fostering growth for Indigenous entrepreneurs through their small business loan program. Business development sets the ground for a healthier economy which will in turn be great for creating employment. Additionally, the individual borrower will gain skills such as self-sustainability, experience in personal and business financial management, and may become a community role model.

CFDC of CIFN offers small business loans in General Business Loans, Agriculture Business Loans and Youth Investment Fund, Disability Investment Fund, Community Business Loans, and Youth Investment Fund.

Loan amount and repayment

Each loan program has their own set of requirements: 

  • General Business Loans: Available to applicants for business purposes not covered by any other CFDC or CIFN loan portfolio, up to $125,000.
  • Agriculture Business Loans: Available to applicants, communities and bands for business purposes. Funds may not be used for existing debt. Maximum loan amount $125,000.00.
  • Disability Investment Fund: Available to applicants with self-declared disabilities for business purposes, up to $125,000.

  • Community Business Loans: Available to individuals, communities and bands for business purposes, up to $125,000.

  • Youth Investment Fund: Available to individuals aged 15-29 for business purposes. Maximum loan amount is based on the viability of the Business Plan and credit history results.

How to qualify

The CFDC and CIFN serves Indigenous communities within the following areas:

  • Thompson
  • Shuswap
  • Nicola
  • Fraser Canyon
  • Lillooet
  • Okanagan

Indigenous persons, groups, or businesses living both on and off reserves as well in urban and rural settings can also apply.

Service Area Business Loans for Indigenous

What loan is it?

The All Nations Trust Company services a large area, covering most of BC. ANTCO’s territory possesses a disparities in economic development spanning both large urban communities and small isolated communities. For that reason, entrepreneurs in isolated communities typically require a greater degree of mentoring, both before and after securing a loan.

There are no geographic restrictions for mortgages.

ANTCO wants to aid Indigenous Communities in realising their full business potential by providing a loan to fund their projects. This loan may go towards start-ups, expansions, acquisition or modernization. 

Loan amount and repayment terms

Each loan program has their own terms. 

First Citizens' Fund Loan Program

  • Loans are eligible for a 40% deferred contribution grant.
  • The lifetime loan maximum for individuals sits at $75,000, while the maximum for communities sits at $225,000

Trustee Loan Program

  • Business Loans are 100% repayable, with funds of up to $100,000.00 for first time borrowers and up to a maximum of $200,000.00 for repeat borrowers.
  • Collateral security changes depending on each business project

Commercial Mortgages

  • Available for the construction, acquisition or refinancing of business developments located on reserve
  • Must be secured by a mortgage or mortgage of lease

How to qualify

In order to qualify, your loan applications should have a clearly defined business plan indicating: 

  • Management experience 
  • Description of business
  • Executive summary
  • Cashflow 
  • Investment/Equity in business
  • Industry 
  • Security/Collateral
  • Target market research 
  • What you need the loan for 
  • How the loan will help with business growth  

Vancity Unity Women Entrepreneur loans

What loan is it?

Women’s Enterprise Centre is a non-profit organization aimed at supporting BC women in starting, leafing, or growing their business. Women’s Enterprise Centre has helped women-led businesses since 1995, providing loans of up to $150K, including practical resources such as business advice, mentoring, skills training, and community support to succeed in business.  

There are two different loan programs: Startup and Growth

Loan amount and repayment terms

The two programs offer different loan amounts and repayment options. 


  • Variable rate line of credit
  • Access up to $20,000
  • Get a lending rate of prime + 3%
  • Simplified approval process
  • Complimentary support and advice through Women's Enterprise Centre


  • Variable rate term loan
  • Access up to $100,0002
  • Get a lending rate of prime + 1.5%
  • Maximum term of 60 months
  • Interest-free for first 6 months
  • Complimentary business support services and advice through Women's Enterprise Centre

How to qualify

The Startup loan is for women-owned businesses operating for at least 6 months. And the Growth loan is for women-owned businesses operating for at least 12 months. 

WEBC Business Loans for Youths

What loan is it?

The WEBC Business Loans for Youth is a loan program for young entrepreneurs. They have partnered with Futurpreneur Canada to offer an unsecured joint loan. Some additions perks to this program include: 

  • Free and ongoing business advice from a personal Business Advisor
  • Free business skills training and mentoring 

Loan amount and repayment terms

Features include: 

  • Financial support to the maximum amount of $70,000, with no security required
  • Matched Futurpreneur interest rates
  • Flexible repayment terms, with up to six months interest only
  • One-time loan administration fee of 1% before the loan securement
  • Zero penalty for early repayment

How to qualify

The owner of the business must make a financial contribution. This equity can be in the form of cash and other business assets, such as equipment or inventory. The minimum equity requirement for the youth business loan sits at 10% of the loan amount, instead of the standard 25%.

WeBC will also be looking at your credit history and weigh it against the strength of your business plan. Your personal credit score does not need to be in perfect shape, they are mostly looking at if you have outstanding bankruptcy or judgment. 

To meet the criteria, you do not have to have owned or run a business prior to the application. However, ,you must have the skills necessary to operate and manage a business successfully. 

Applicants must meet these additional requirements:  

  • Be between the ages of 19 and 39
  • Be a woman, or women, who owns at least 51% of a business that is registered and located within British Columbia
  • Be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada
  • Must reside in British Columbia

Applicant must have a business plan that shows: 

  • Market research illustrating a demand for the service or product
  • Monthly cash flow projections for the following two years of operation
  • The business’s historic financial statements 
  • Copy of the proposed purchase agreement

Those looking to secure small business loans in BC should consider using accounting software like QuickBooks Online to help them manage their finances and generate the financial documents they need to apply. 

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