Small Business Loans and grants for women entrepreneurs

Small Business Loans and grants for women entrepreneurs


As the entrepreneurial landscape continues to evolve, women are making significant strides in establishing and growing their businesses. However, access to capital remains a critical factor for many women entrepreneurs. In Canada, several programs and initiatives aim to bridge this gap by providing financial support to women-led businesses. In this blog post, we’ll explore various options for small business loans and grants specifically designed for women entrepreneurs.

Let’s delve deeper into each of the points regarding small business loans and grants for women entrepreneurs in Canada:

1. Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund

The Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund is a crucial initiative by the Canadian government to empower women-led businesses. Here are the key details:

  • Purpose: The fund aims to provide financial support to women entrepreneurs, particularly those in start-ups, sole proprietorships, or underrepresented groups.

  • Loan Amount: Eligible women entrepreneurs can access up to $50,000 in microloans.

  • Delivery Organizations: Several organizations across Canada administer these microloans, including:

Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada (WEOC)

WEOC is the national association dedicated to the success of women entrepreneurs. Member organizations across provinces provide services such as skills development, connections to financing, and trade development opportunities. These organizations have over 90,000 female business owners in their network, coast to coast

National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA)

The National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) is a vital network of over 50 Indigenous Financial Institutions (IFIs) in Canada. Their mission is to stimulate economic growth for all Indigenous people across the country. Here are some key points about NACCA:

  1. Purpose and Impact:

  1. Indigenous Women’s Entrepreneurship Initiative:

  • NACCA recognizes that entrepreneurship is a promising pathway for Indigenous women to create their own employment and independent sources of income.

  • Through this initiative, NACCA and the Indigenous Financial Institutions (IFIs) offer financial support to Indigenous women entrepreneurs, including loans, grants, and programming guidance.

  • If you’re an Indigenous woman thinking of starting your own business, NACCA can assist you! Learn more about this initiative on their website.

  1. Indigenous Growth Fund:

Northumberland Business Development Assistance Corp:

  1. NCFDC Overview:

  1. Programs and Support:

  1. DELIA Microloan Fund:

Coralus (formerly SheEO)

Coralus, formerly known as SheEO, is a global community of women and non-binary individuals committed to creating a self-regenerating pay-it-forward pool of skills, connections, funds, and support. Their mission aligns with the United Nations’ Sustainability Goals (“The World’s To-do List”).

Here’s what makes Coralus unique:

  1. Abundance Model:

    1. Coralus challenges the traditional funding system by valuing all forms of resources equally.

    2. They pool community resources and collective wisdom to generate support that goes beyond interest-free funding.

    3. Their approach fosters collaboration and shared abundance.

  2. Ventures Supported:

    1. Coralus selects and supports ventures led by women and non-binary individuals who are working on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

    2. These ventures receive zero-interest loans and become part of a supportive community.

  3. Notable Ventures:

    1. Made with Local (Sheena Russell): Sourcing local ingredients, employing marginalized workers, and bringing real food to retailers.

    2. Dalcini Stainless (Nita Tandon): Creating durable, chemical-free, eco-friendly housewares.

    3. Indigital (Mikaela Jade): Embedding Indigenous stories into the mainstream using augmented reality technology.

    4. Makhers Studio (Wanona Satcher): Innovating modular real estate and civic revitalization strategies.

  4. Regeneration and Collective Wisdom:

    1. Coralus believes in sharing resources toward their highest and best use.

    2. They emphasize being in relationship with each other, daring to make unlikely bets, and dreaming together.

    3. Their approach is transformative and effective.

Eligibility and Application Process

To benefit from this fund, aspiring women entrepreneurs should explore the official websites of these organizations. Each organization has specific eligibility criteria and application procedures. Whether you’re starting a new venture or expanding an existing one, consider tapping into this valuable resource.

2. Provincial and Regional Programs

Localized Support

Beyond the national fund, various provinces and regions offer tailored programs for women entrepreneurs. Here are some examples:

  • BDC Women in Technology Venture Fund (All of Canada): If your business operates in the technology sector, explore this fund.

  • Microloans for Low-Income Women in Ontario: Ontario-based women entrepreneurs can access microloans to kickstart their ventures.

  • Femmessor Loans for Women (Quebec): Quebec’s Femmessor program provides financial assistance to women-led businesses.

  • Women’s Enterprise Centre (British Columbia): BC-based women entrepreneurs can benefit from this center’s resources.

  • Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE): Alberta offers support through AWE.

  • Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan (WESK): Saskatchewan-based women entrepreneurs can explore WESK’s programs.

  • Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba (WECM): Manitoba provides resources and loans to women entrepreneurs.

Customized Solutions

Each program caters to specific needs, so research the options available in your region. Whether it’s mentorship, funding, or networking opportunities, these localized programs can significantly boost your entrepreneurial journey.

3. Private Sector Lenders and Tools

Beyond Government Programs

While government initiatives are essential, don’t overlook private sector lenders. Explore traditional banks, credit unions, and online lenders. Additionally, the Canadian government provides a loan search tool to help you discover other loans and grants you may be eligible for. Use this tool to explore further opportunities beyond the public programs.

Professional Guidance

Before applying for any loan or grant, seek professional advice. Understand the terms, interest rates, repayment schedules, and any associated fees. A well-informed decision will set your business on the right path.

Remember that these programs are designed to empower women entrepreneurs, so take advantage of the resources available. Whether you’re just starting or looking to expand, these financial tools can fuel your business dreams.

What are some other resources the Canadian grants for women entrepreneurs?

Mental Health Services:

Prioritize mental well-being with resources like BDC Entrepreneurs’ Wellness, Life’s Workplace Strategies for Mental Health, and more.

Resources by Sector:

Farming: Farm Credit Canada’s Women in Agriculture Video Series.

Tech: Women in Communications and Technology (WCT) Free Webinars.

Trades: Women in Trade Apprenticeship Incentive Grant for Women.

Diversity and Inclusion:

Promote diversity with resources like addressing workforce diversity, inclusive benefits, and supplier diversity.

Canadian Chamber of Commerce & Network Resources:

Explore inclusive growth, economic issues, and tools for employers.

Find regional support in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec, Yukon, and more.


Women entrepreneurs play a vital role in driving economic growth and innovation. By leveraging these loan and grant programs, you can fuel your business dreams and contribute to a more inclusive and thriving business ecosystem. Remember to research thoroughly, seek professional advice, and take advantage of the resources available to you. Your entrepreneurial journey awaits!

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