Accessing the WEOC Loan Program for Entrepreneurs

How did the WEOC National Loan Fund get started?

Access to capital remains a significant barrier for many women entrepreneurs seeking to start or grow their businesses. To help address this barrier, the Government of Canada allocated $55 million in Budget 2021 for the creation of a new national microloans fund, part of its Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES). As one of the selected administrators of the funding, WEOC will provide loans of up to $50,000 to women entrepreneurs who meet its eligibility requirements.

How do I find a loan provider in my region?

If you are in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario or Newfoundland and Labrador, you can connect with one of our six loan partner organizations. Additional loan partners are being added to ensure that there is a loan fund partner available to entrepreneurs in all provinces and territories.

What if I can’t find a partner in my province or territory?

Entrepreneurs in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Yukon, Northwest Territories, Nunavut will will also have access to the WEOC National Loan Fund in the near future.

In the meantime, if you are an entrepreneur living in one of these provinces, you can apply for a loan through the following organizations that are delivering comparable loan products:

Who is eligible for a loan through this program?

See Loan Eligibility document.

Will there be a loan provider in Quebec?

While WEOC loans are not available in Quebec, we encourage you to explore the existing resources at Evol

What is the application process?

The process depends on whether an entrepreneur is seeking start-up financing or a loan for an existing business.

For Start-Up Loans

  1. Find and connect with a Loan Fund Partner in your region.
  2. Do You Have a Business Plan? Having a business plan that includes two years of cash flow projections is a requirement for all WEOC loans:
    • Yes – Share your business plan with the Loan Fund Partner who will review it and provide feedback.
    • Not yet – The Loan Fund Partner will provide you with a variety of resources, including seminars, webinars and one-on-one assistance and guidance, to guide you in the development of a business plan that illustrates the feasibility and viability of the business.
  3. Once the Loan Fund Partner is satisfied that you have developed a realistic business plan, you will be provided with a link to the WEOC Loan Application.
  4. Complete the loan application and submit it, along with your business plan and financial projections, to the WEOC Loans Team for consideration.
  5. The WEOC Loans Team will work through any follow-up questions for you and/or the Loan Fund Partner.
  6. Once the WEOC Loans Team has received all the necessary information, they will review the documentation and make a decision. Every effort will be made to reply to you within 10 business days of receiving all documents, however the size of the loan, the complexity of the business, and the industry will be factors that determine the length of time required to make a decision. 

Loans for an Existing Businesses:

  1. Find and connect with the Loan Fund Partner in their province. 
  2. Be prepared to provide the required overview of the existing business, including:
    • An outline of how you plan to use the additional funds, 
    • Financial statements for at least two years of operations, and
  3. A cash flow for the next two years. 
  4. Once the Loan Fund Partner is satisfied that you have provided a realistic plan, you will receive a link to the WEOC Loan Application.
  5. Complete the loan application and submit a business plan and financial projections to the WEOC Loans Team for consideration.
  6. The WEOC Loans Team will work through any follow-up questions for you and/or the Loan Fund Partner.
  7. Once the WEOC Loans Team has received all the necessary information, they will review the documentation and make a decision. Every effort will be made to reply to you within 10 business days of receiving all documents, however the size of the loan, the complexity of the business, and the industry will be factors that determine the length of time required to make a decision. 

How much are the loans for and what are the terms?

Loans are available in any amount up to $50,000. Terms are up to 5 years.

Are there any application or administration fees?

There is a lending fee of 1% of the total loan amount, which will be deducted from the initial disbursement after approval. No fees are collected if your loan is not approved.

How long will it take for money to be distributed?

Once the loan is approved and the entrepreneur has met all of the loan conditions, the funds should be distributed within 10 business days.

What kind of supports will be available to me?

WEOC’s Loan Fund Partners are skilled professionals who work with diverse women entrepreneurs. They are able to provide a variety of resources, including seminars, webinars, mentorship programs, networking opportunities, one-on-one advising, and loan aftercare. Their goal is to answer your questions, provide you with relevant resources, and guide you in the development of a business plan that documents the feasibility and viability of your business idea. They have your best interests in mind so will often ask the tough questions to make sure that you are considering both the opportunities and challenges that could affect the success of your business. 

How can I find out about news and updates?

There are a few ways that you can keep up-to-date on the WEOC National Loan Program:

WEOC National Loan Program is possible with funding provided by the Government of Canada through the Women’s Entrepreneurship Strategy.