Do I Qualify for a Business Loan?

Women’s Enterprise Centre offers two types of business loans for BC women:

  1. Primary Lending Program for loans up to $150,000
  2. Specialty Loans, including:
    • Joint Youth Loans, for unsecured loans up to $65,000 for women under 40 (available in partnership with Futurpreneur Canada)
    • Equal Access to Capital Lending Program, for unsecured loans up to $50,000 if you have a credit score over 650

Basic Eligibility Requirements

All applicants 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 the Following

(And We Can Help!)

1. A strong and workable business idea and a comprehensive business plan

We want to see that you have a strong and workable idea, and the best way to illustrate that is with a comprehensive business plan. We can guide you in putting a business plan 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

Resources that can help you

…and more! Check out the Business Planning section of our online resource library. If you have any questions, call us to speak with a Business Advisor 1.800.643.7014 ext. 2.

If you would like your business plan reviewed, check out our Business Plan Review Service. *Note that the review does not guarantee a successful loan application to the Women’s Enterprise Centre lending program or other lending programs.

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.

We offer affordable, applicable workshops in person, via phone or webinar to help you gain the skills you need to run a business, including self-study learning guides on topics such as Focused Marketing, Financial Understanding and Financial Management. View our workshop and event calendar to see upcoming business skills training, or sign up for our eBlasts.

3. A 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. Women’s Enterprise Centre typically requires a minimum equity of 25%; however, some exceptions may apply – talk to your Business Advisor for more info.

4. Security

Women’s Enterprise Centre secures its business loans to the fullest extent possible given the applicable venture risk. 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.

Applicants who can not provide security may apply for an unsecured loan – talk to your Business Advisor to learn more. A qualified guarantor can help in situations where security is limited.

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 our FREE phone-in Business Loan Info Session.

Picture of Heather Davis

Heather Davis
Stellar Gem Services, Kelowna
WEC Loan Client

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

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Register for our FREE Business Loan Info Session

Still have questions? Check out our Business Loan FAQs or call us at 1.800.643.7014.

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