Women Entrepreneurs in Manitoba Able to Access $250,000

Winnipeg – The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) and Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba (WECM) have teamed up to streamline the process to access the capital necessary to start, grow and expand women-owned businesses in Manitoba.

WECM provides loans up to $150,000 to women-owned and female/male partnerships that are starting, growing or purchasing businesses in Manitoba. The new co-lending agreement means that BDC will provide an additional $100,000 to businesses that require more capital to successfully start or grow.

“The percentage of women in Canada who would like to start a business is one of the highest in the world, yet women are generally underrepresented in entrepreneurship and small business ownership,” says Honourable Bardish Chagger, Minister of Small Business and Tourism and Leader of the Government in the House of Commons. “This partnership between the BDC and the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba is so important to helping equip women entrepreneurs with access to the capital they need to start and grow their business.”

“Women entrepreneurs represent an enormous economic force in Canada. We are excited to do our part to empower and support them,” says Laura Didyk, Vice President, Alberta South and national champion for the Bank’s Women Entrepreneurs initiative. “Both organizations understand the unique challenges facing women entrepreneurs during all stages of the business cycle. This strategic collaboration aims to encourage more women to start businesses and provides established women entrepreneurs with the financing needed to scale-up.”

According to Sandra Altner, CEO of the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba, “We have developed a loan review process that is geared to the needs and circumstances of women entrepreneurs. We work very closely with our clients who are innovative and creative to ensure that the business plans they develop are realistic and relevant. The partnership with BDC is an excellent way for us to assist women in accessing the financing they need.” Altner goes on to say, “Our approach has had a meaningful impact in Manitoba. Since the Centre opened in 1994, we have approved $26.2 million in loans and 98% of our clients pass the one-year milestone.”

Women are more inclined to self-finance their businesses than male entrepreneurs. This means that women-owned businesses often remain smaller and may not have the capacity to capitalize on new opportunities. Appropriate financing at start up and growth stages is a key factor in business success. The partnership between these two entrepreneurial support organizations means that women now have access up to $250,000.

BDC has taken a comprehensive approach to supporting the needs of women entrepreneurs and now offers a full spectrum of financing and capital solutions. Today’s announcement also complements a 2015 BDC commitment to increase its term lending to majority women-owned businesses to at least $700 million over three years.