Business Loans: Questions and Answers
1. Does Women's Enterprise Centre provide grants?
2. To whom does Women's Enterprise Centre lend money?
3. How do I get an application form to apply for financing from Women's Enterprise Centre?
4. What help is available for me as I develop my plan?
5. I don't like the idea of going into debt.
6. I have never operated my own business nor have I been involved in management. How much does experience count?
7. How long does this whole process take?
8. What if I don't have enough security?
9. What if I don't have enough equity?
Women's Enterprise Centre DOES NOT provide grants. We DO provide business loans, which are repayable with interest. View a list of Grant Programs for BC businesses.
Women's Enterprise Centre provides loans to BC women who are Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada and who are starting, purchasing or expanding a business in BC. We determine whether:
- The business idea is strong, realistic and workable
- The strategy to carry out the plan is viable
- The business is at least 51% owned and operated by women
- The owners have the necessary skills, talents and experience to implement the plan
At its discretion, Women's Enterprise Centre may fund competing business ventures.
Our free phone-in Business Loans Info Session provides you with more information regarding our lending criteria and the application process.
We want you to have a good understanding of our program and what you'll need before you apply. Participation in our free, phone-in Business Loans Info Session is necessary to provide you with all the information you'll need, including instructions on how to apply for a loan.
We can guide you through the process to get your plan in shape, including helping you put together financial projections. A great place to start is to read our Business Plan Guidelines. Existing businesses that have at least two full years of solid business performance, can start with our Existing Business Requirements. You can also visit the Business Planning section of our on-line resource library for additional resources.
Because you also need the business skills and knowledge to carry out the plan, we offer courses and workshops to assist you. View upcoming workshops and events.
We do everything we can to work with you to ensure the loan is right for your situation, and to avoid saddling you with debt for a business that cannot support you. We want you to succeed!
Women's Enterprise Centre provides you with business counselling. We will assist you as you learn the ropes, help you find solutions to unforeseen problems, and we are flexible if you need to talk to us about cash flow dilemmas that may arise from time to time.
Women's Enterprise Centre believes that learning business skills is critical to succeed. We offer a number of workshops you can take no matter where you live in BC, and our learning guides can help you learn more about financing, marketing, management and other areas of running a business. In addition, our Online Business Resource Library is full of useful, free resources.
In addition, if your business plan is strong and workable and you have developed the skills and traits needed to operate a business through other means, then your application will be given full consideration.
Once we have received all of the information we require, it will take approximately four weeks to complete our assessment and give a final lending decision. The length of the process depends on the completeness and complexity of your plan and your level of experience.
If you have a credit score of 650 or greater you may qualify for the Equal Access to Capital loan (up to $50,000) and the security requirement may be waived. Loans that are unsecured are subject to a higher interest rate.
For our Primary Lending Program, the minimum equity requirement is 25% of the total project amount.
For the Equal Access to Capital Loan, the minimum equity requirement is 25% of the total project amount unless you belong to one of the following groups in which case the minimum equity requirement is 10% of the total project amount.
- A recent immigrant to Canada. Applicants must have obtained Permanent Residency within the last 5 years; or
- under the age of 40; or
- an Aboriginal.