Canadian female and non-binary entrepreneurs are now eligible for a loan program that is making it easier for women entrepreneurs to start, grow, and maintain their businesses. This initiative is called the Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC) National Loan Program. The program is administered by the WEOC, an association of organizations that offers mentorship, advising, business training, and financing to women and non-binary entrepreneurs, supporting individuals by establishing a stronger, connected entrepreneurial network.
“The Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund supports women entrepreneurs by providing access to much-needed capital, as well as the wraparound business supports that we know ensure long-term success. Small and medium-sized enterprises are the backbone of the Canadian economy, and now is an excellent time to provide resources that facilitate the growth of women-owned businesses.”Alison Kirkland, CEO, Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada
Through their support systems and programs, the WEOC is prepared to provide up to $30 million in total supports through the organization via their support partners across the country. The Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC) is to be a key driver of Canada’s Women Entrepreneurship Strategy, an initiative designed to increase the diversity among Canadian business owners.
“Women are smart, creative and driven, and they already know how to achieve success. What they need are opportunities, open doors and a hand up. Those are exactly what our government is providing through the Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund. By removing systemic barriers in accessing financing, we are again moving the dial in empowering women entrepreneurs to reach their full potential, create local jobs and drive economic growth.”The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of International Trade, Export Promotion, Small Business and Economic Development
Approximately 15% of Canadian SMEs are owned by women, which means gender equality and women’s involvement in the economy could boost GDP by as much as $150 billion. In addition to the WEOC National Loan Program, the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) is dedicating over $6 billion to increase the access of women-owned businesses to programs and networks.
Understanding the Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC) National Loan Program Criteria
Eligible applicants for the Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC) National Loan Program can receive up to a maximum of $50,000 in loan funding for their business. Loan amounts may vary by business and region, so please check via your local Support Partner below.
Applicants for the WEOC National Loan Program must meet certain eligibility criteria to receive funding:
- Applicants must be based out of a participating Canadian province or territory;
- Applicants should be a start-up, underrepresented group, or sole proprietorship; and
- Business owners must be a woman or non-binary individual.
Please note: there may be other eligibility criteria for applicants according to local Support Partners.
Funding for the WEOC is administered via local Support Partners that are located in participating provinces or territories. Please find your Support Partner below for your provider’s unique criteria:
- British Columbia – WE-BC;
- Alberta – AWE;
- Saskatchewan – WESK;
- Manitoba – WECM;
- Ontario – PARO; and
- Newfoundland and Labrador – NLOWE.
Please note: If your province or territory is not listed above, there is a possibility that there may be funding provided relatively soon for:
- New Brunswick;
- Nova Scotia;
- Prince Edward Island;
- Northwest Territories; and
This program will be administering funds in Fall 2022 so applicants should be prepared. There is currently no deadline although applicants are encouraged to apply before funding is fully committed.
More Government Funding for Women-Led Canadian Businesses
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