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Small Business Loans for Women in Canada: For Women Only

Part 1: Financing Just for Women-Owned Businesses


Are you a Canadian woman looking for a small business loan? That’s the focus of this article - small business loans and business assistance that is only available to women. Other sources of business financing and assistance in Canada that are available to both women and men, such as the Canada Small Business Financing Program to name just one, are not presented here. (For more sources of small business loans and business assistance programs, see my Small Business Financing library.)

These small business loans for women are available only to women owned businesses (or women about to start a woman owned business). That is, the business must be 50 percent or more owned or controlled by a woman or women. Where you live also matters, as some women’s small business loan programs are only available to residents of particular areas.

But the good news is that if you are a woman looking to start a business or expand an existing small business, small business loans are available - and even the occassional small business grant. See if you fit the criteria for any of the following programs.

Small Business Loans for Women in Eastern Canada

Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA)Women in Business Initiative

The ACOA Women in Business Initiative focuses on improving the access of women to business financing. To do this, ACOA (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) has partnered with Development Corporations throughout the region.

There are more than 40 Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs) in the region as well as a multitude of urban lenders who are part of the program.

Small Business Loans for Women in Central Canada

Paro Centre for Women's Enterprise

Located in Thunder Bay, Ontario, the Paro Centre operates over 30 peer lending circles throughout the Thunder Bay, Greenstone, Patricia and Superior North regions. These groups of four to seven women meet monthly to "exchange advice, provide support, approve and guarantee each other's loans and monitor payments".

If you are a woman who wants to become economically independent by starting a business or finding a job, Paro also operates the Gateway: A Path to Self Employment program which offers business development programming to women in Thunder Bay and area who are unemployed and eligible for Employment Insurance (EI), have been eligible on EI in the last three years or have been on maternity benefits in the last five years. Women receive Self-Employment Benefits (SEB) for the duration of the program.

Entrepreneuriat au féminin - CLD de Portneuf (Website available in French only.)

Small business loans are available for women entrepreneurs who wish to start or develop a business through the local investment fund of the Portneuf CLD.

Small business loans for women in Western Canada are listed on the following page. Click to continue reading...

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