Women entrepreneurs are resilient and innovative. While the current pandemic has wreaked havoc on businesses worldwide, we have also seen women entrepreneurs overcoming major challenges.
Many women business owners have been forced to assume most of the responsibility for childcare and home schooling while keeping their businesses afloat. They may be working in a rural or remote community without reliable access to internet. Others are working to build an online presence as a critical new revenue stream and need advice, human capital and skills training to implement the technology.
Fortunately, there is support available for businesses and individuals struggling to pay their bills. The Government of Canada, through Western Economic Diversification Canada, is providing loans of up to $60,000 for eligible women-run businesses. Women’s Enterprise Centre is pleased to provide access to this Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) to women entrepreneurs in BC.
How do you know if this is the right option for you? We recently hosted an information session covering the loan details and application process. Here are some of the most frequently asked questions to help you decide.
How can my business qualify for RRRF?
- Your business is majority woman-owned and controlled (51% or more);
- Your businesses experiencing a significant (30% or more) drop in revenues as a result of COVID-19;
- The company was not experiencing financial pressures prior to March 1, 2020;
- Your business was not eligible to receive other federal relief supports, such as the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) for the same expenditure.
What expenses can the RRRF cover?
This funding is available to cover eligible non-deferrable fixed expenses such as utilities, insurance, office supplies, professional fees, cleaning supplies and additional safety measures for a period of up to 12 months.
What are the repayment terms?
The loan is interest free until December 31, 2022.
If the balance is repaid on or before December 31, 2022, the following percentage of the contribution becomes a forgivable grant:
- 25% on the first $40k (up to $10k); and
- 50% on amounts above $40k and up to $60k (up to $10k).
Any balance that is unpaid as of January 1, 2023 converts to a 3 year term loan at 5% interest.
I’m reluctant to take on more debt. How can this help?
Women entrepreneurs are more likely to self finance their business, and during these uncertain times, even more reluctant to increase their debt load to support their business. As opposed to regular debt financing, this loan offers a lower risk option for businesses that were generating revenue and operating profitably prior to the pandemic.
The loan is 0% interest until December 31, 2022, and if 75% of the original loan amount is repaid by this date, the remaining 25% is forgivable.
What financial information do I need to apply for the RRRF loan?
Before submitting an application, it’s important to have up-to-date financial information prepared. This includes the following:
- Income taxes should be filed, and any outstanding income taxes paid. Doing so means your yearend financial statements, either income statement and balance sheet, or completed T2125 form which is submitted as part of your personal tax return, are current.
- Year-to-date financial reporting needs to be current
- 12 month cash flow projections
My business doesn’t qualify for the RRRF loan. What other support can I access?
In addition to offering the RRRF loan, Women’s Enterprise Centre has a regular loan program as well as business advice, skills development training and mentoring, and other resources. Please refer to the website at www.womensenterprise.ca for further information.