How Do I Qualify?

For basic eligibility you must be:

  • A woman who owns and controls at least 51% of a business that is registered and located in British Columbia
  • A Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident
  • Residing in British Columbia 
  • Over 19 years old

You will need to have...

  1. A strong and workable business idea and a comprehensive business plan. We can guide you in putting one together, along with the financial projections you will need. This includes:
           -   Market research confirming demand for your product/service
           -   A monthly cash flow forecast for a minimum of the first 2 years of operation
           -   And for business purchases also include:
                           -  Historic financial statements of the business
                           -  Copy of the proposed purchase agreement
  2. Management knowledge and experience
    It is not necessary to have owned a business previously to meet our criteria, but you need to have the skills to operate and manage a business successfully. Your business skills may have been gained through work experience, education, volunteer positions or other personal background. In addition to knowledge about the operational aspects of your business and industry, you will also need to have some knowledge of financial management, marketing and sales. 
    Women's Enterprise Centre offers handy, affordable workshops to help you get up to speed in those areas, including self-study learning guides on topics such as Focused Marketing, Financial Understanding and Financial Management.
  3. Cash/equity contribution
    Businesses have a greater probability of success when the owner makes a financial contribution.
    When you apply for a loan, you will need to show personal equity investment in your business. Equity can be in the form of cash and other assets that will be used in the business, such as equipment, inventory, etc.
    For a loan of up to $150,000, the minimum equity requirement is 25% of the loan amount.
    For the Equal Access to Capital Loan (see below), the minimum equity requirement is 10% of the loan amount.
  4. Security
    Women’s Enterprise Centre secures its loans to the fullest extent possible given the applicable venture risk; however, a minimum threshold of 30% of the amount requested is a necessity. If your business is in a high risk industry, we will require additional security. 
    Assets used to secure a loan can include cash or highly stable non-RRSP investments, and business or personal assets such as equipment, vehicles (depending on age and condition) or property.
    A qualified guarantor can help in situations where security is limited.
    If you qualify for the Equal Access to Capital loan, the security requirement may be waived.
  5. A Good Credit History
    Women's Enterprise Centre will look at your credit history and weigh it against the strength of your business plan.  While your credit history need not be stellar, we cannot consider you for a loan if you have an outstanding bankruptcy or judgment.  It is a good idea for you to find out where you stand with your credit rating before you apply. Details on how you can do that are provided in the phone-in Business Loan Information Session.

Ineligible Projects:
If a project falls into one of the categories below, it is not eligible for Women's Enterprise Centre financing:

  • Projects in the pre-start-up phase for which seed or early-stage capital is required
  • Any business in which the owner does not have operational control over important aspects of the business (this may include some franchises) 
  • Any business for which the majority of gross revenues do not come from direct sales of the business's products or services (i.e. Multi-tiered marketing projects) 
  • Any projects that support businesses that do not operate on a for-profit basis
  • Any investment that can be considered speculative
  • Refinancing of existing debt from another lender 
  • Loans greater than $150,000
  • Loans for which the secondary financing necessary to the project over and above $150,000 is not confirmed 

Equal Access to Capital Loan:
Women’s Enterprise Centre offers an Equal Access to Capital Loan of up to $50,000 for women who do not have security to offer and:

  • Are recent immigrants to Canada. Applicants must have obtained Permanent Residency within the last 5 years
  • Are under the age of 39; or
  • Have an annual personal income under $20,000 or annual family income under $30,000

In these circumstances we require that the owner make a 10% equity contribution to the business instead of the usual 25%. Security is not required.
 

 

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