WeBC approaches funding differently from traditional financial institutions. Our eligibility criteria is broader and we provide each funded business with complimentary services that support the woman entrepreneur in developing and strengthening her business.
Our core funding program provides business loans of up to $150,000, and women who apply for $50,000 or less may qualify for our Equal Access to Capital (EAC) program which does not require specific security. We are also the BC Loan Fund Partner of the WEOC National Loan Fund.
Some of the key features of our loans program include:
- Loans up to $150,000* for BC women
- Loans for market-ready startups, business expansion projects and business purchases
- Loans for leaseholds, equipment, operating capital and more
- Flexible repayment options and terms up to 5 years
- Lower security and equity requirements than many other lenders
- Lower fees than many other lenders
- Competitive interest rates and interest-only payments for up to six months
- Wrap-around supports, including complimentary business advisory services, training and mentoring
*For funding needs beyond $150,000, we can partner with other lenders to meet your full borrowing requirements.
All applicants must be:
- A woman who owns and controls at least 51% of a business that is registered and located in BC, or 50% for wife-husband teams
- A Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident
- Residing in BC
- Over 19 years old
You will also need the following:
(Don’t worry, we’re here to help)
- Market research confirming demand for your product/service
- Monthly cash flow forecast for the next two years of operation
For resources to build your business plan, take a look at:
While we do not have a minimum credit score (exceptions apply), we will weigh your credit history against the strength of your business plan. It’s a good idea for you to find out your credit rating before you apply. Details on how you can do that are provided in our free phone-in Business Loan Info Session.
- Assets used to secure a loan can include cash or highly stable non-RRSP investments, and business or personal assets such as equipment, vehicles or property.
- Applicants who can not provide security may apply for an unsecured loan. A qualified guarantor can help in situations where security is limited.
- When you apply for a loan, you will need to show personal equity investment in your business.
- Equity can be in the form of cash and other assets that will be used in the business, such as equipment or inventory.
- WeBC typically requires a minimum equity of 25%. Some exceptions may apply – talk to your Business Advisor for more info.
You will need to demonstrate that you have the skills to operate and manage a business successfully.
Business skills may have been gained through work experience, education, volunteer positions or other personal background.
You will also need to have some knowledge of financial management, marketing and sales, and we offer workshops and resources to help you gain needed business skills.
If a project falls into one of the categories below, it is not eligible for WeBC financing, but we can support you with other programs.
- Projects in the pre-start-up phase for which seed or early-stage capital is required
- Projects in the research and development phase, beta testing or building of a prototype
- Any business in which the owner does not have operational control over important aspects of the business (this may include some franchises)
- Any business for which the majority of gross revenues do not come from direct sales of the business’s products or services (i.e. Multi-tiered marketing projects)
- Any projects that support businesses that do not operate on a for-profit basis
- Any investment that can be considered speculative
- Refinancing of existing debt from another lender
- Loans greater than $150,000
- Loans for which the secondary financing necessary to the project is not confirmed
How to Apply
If you intend to apply for a loan from WeBC to start, expand or purchase a business you will need to provide all items on the Loan Application Checklist, and participate in one of our bi-weekly phone-in info sessions about the loans program.
Sessions are held every second Tuesday at noon (PT). During this session, the facilitator will:
- Review our lending criteria
- Answer your questions
- Advise you on how to apply
- Provide you with a resource package
- Provide information on the WEOC National Loan Fund
An Advisor will work with you to determine if you are eligible for a loan with us and can help you decide which loan program will match the needs of your business.
If you have already attended a Business Loans Information session and would like more information or an application, please email Kelly Masson, Business Advisor.
Ready to take the next step? Register for our free business loan info sessionREGISTER NOW
Frequently Asked Questions - Business Loans
WeBC DOES NOT provide grants. We DO provide business loans, which are repayable with interest. View a list of Grant Programs for BC businesses.
WeBC provides loans for BC women who are Canadian Citizens or Permanent Residents of Canada and who are starting, purchasing or expanding a business in BC. We determine whether:
- The business idea is strong, realistic and workable
- The strategy to carry out the plan is viable
- The business is at least 51% owned and operated by women
- The owners have the necessary skills, talents and experience to implement the plan
At its discretion, WeBC may fund competing business ventures.
Our free phone-in Business Loan Info Session provides you with more information regarding our lending criteria and the application process.
We want you to have a good understanding of our program and what you’ll need before you apply.
Participation in our free, phone-in Business Loan Info Session is necessary to provide you with all the information you’ll need, including instructions on how to apply for a loan.
We can guide you through the process to get your plan in shape, including helping you put together financial projections. Some ways you can fill gaps in your business plan include:
- Download our free Business Plan Guidelines – a great place to start. Existing businesses that have at least two full years of solid business performance can start with our existing business requirements.
- Purchase the Creating Your Business Plan Workbook: A Step by Step Guide to Your Business Success. This comprehensive guide takes you through each step of the business planning process—from thinking about starting a business to ticking off your business plan checklist.
- Access additional free business planning resources in our online resource library.
- Register for our business courses and workshops for women. View upcoming business skill workshops and networking events in our event calendar.
- Check out our Business Plan Review Service, a comprehensive analysis of your business plan by an experienced Business Advisor.
Still have questions? Call us at 1.800.643.7014 or send us a note and our Client Service team will help you find the resources you need or connect you with a Business Advisor who can answer your questions.
We do everything we can to work with you to ensure the loan is right for your situation, and to avoid saddling you with debt for a business that cannot support you. We want you to succeed!
Unlike traditional lenders, our business loans are bundled with complimentary, professional support to help you make the most of your loan. As a loan client, you will be matched with a personal Business Advisor who works with you throughout the term of your loan and beyond to give you hands-on support on any issues that may come up in your business.
If your business plan is strong and workable and you have developed the skills and traits needed to operate a business through other means, then your application will be given full consideration.
WeBC believes that learning business skills is critical to your success, so we offer many ways you can gain knowledge and confidence in business:
- Business training workshops – available online and throughout BC
- On-Demand Learning options focused on financing, marketing, management and other areas of running a business
- A free Online Business Resource Library with guides, templates and tips
Once we have received all of the information we require, it will take approximately four weeks to complete our assessment and give a final lending decision.
The length of the process depends on the completeness and complexity of your plan and your level of experience.
WeBC secures its loans to the fullest extent possible given the applicable venture risk.
Applicants who cannot provide security may apply for an unsecured loan – please talk to your Business Advisor to learn more.
Loans that are unsecured are subject to a higher interest rate. A qualified guarantor can help in situations where security is limited.
WeBC typically requires a minimum equity of 25%. Some exceptions may apply – talk to your Business Advisor.