When Tonia Jahshan first sipped a cup of aromatic cream of Earl Grey tea, made with loose tea leaves, she knew it would be her mission to share the experience of rich tea flavours with the world. And that’s how she created Steeped Tea.

Tonia Jahshan is one of the most influential Canadian female entrepreneurs today. In 2015, she was listed by Forbes as one of 6 Entrepreneurial Women to Watch. She is an inspiration for women everywhere. She serves as a reference point for prospective female entrepreneurs aspiring to follow their dreams of entrepreneurship.

It is without doubt that the number of female entrepreneurs in Canada has been growing rapidly in recent years. They are creating more jobs than ever, and have become a major drive for economic growth. Financial service companies have started investing more and more in female-led companies. New studies show that female-founded companies create more value for investors than ever before.

As a female entrepreneur, you probably have an awesome idea for a product or service that you want to launch, or are thinking of ways to expand the business you have already started. But there is one obstacle in your way: capital!

Where and how can you apply for loans and grants? Let’s take a look at some key resources that help female entrepreneurs move toward success.

Microloans & Grants for female entrepreneurs

Here is a list of small business microloans that are often provided for people from disadvantaged communities who are looking to jumpstart their businesses. If you have been turned down by traditional lenders, qualifying for a microloan is the best way to obtain capital for your business.

There are several microloan programs out there for Canadian women, each of which focuses on a specific group. For example, Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund in Northern Ontario offers microloans to Aboriginal women of low-income households who are looking to start a small business, and The Thorncliffe Neighbourhood Office offers microloans to women in Toronto’s Thorncliffe Park, and surrounding areas, to grow or start their own business.

There are also small business grants, available to a wide range of industries, that are distributed depending on what type of business you are operating. For example, there are grants for book publishing, lobster fishing, artists or residents of PEI. There are also grants that are dependent on the use of funds, such as:  expansion, commercialization of new products, or even for protecting your business’s intellectual property. Even though some grants are specific, they are certainly worth looking into because the money doesn’t need to be repaid, making it the perfect source of business funding.

Provincial Organizations

There are organizations in each province that offer a range of loans for female entrepreneurs. Each organization offers different programs, criteria, and loan amounts. The majority of the loans offered to female-led companies are worth up to $150,000. It is much easier to work with a local program than to try and receive funding through a traditional bank loan. Besides providing loans, most of these organizations pair mentorships and networking opportunities. Here’s a list of a few:

Femmessor — Réussir en affaires – Québec

Alberta Women Entrepreneurs – Alberta

PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise – Ontario

Women’s Enterprise Centre – British Columbia

Women’s Enterprise Centre – Manitoba

Women Entrepreneurs of Saskatchewan Inc. – Saskatchewan

Women Entrepreneurship Fund

In addition to the other financing options listed above, the Government of Canada is devoted to furthering women’s economic growth and entrepreneurship. That’s why they launched the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy in 2018. It aims to make funding accessible to female business owners. This initiative is backed by $20 Million in funding and provides up to $100,000 in non-repayable funding for over a 12 month period.

As a female entrepreneur, you may use this funding to focus towards marketing growth opportunities and the further expansion of your business.

An incredibly influential artist, entrepreneur and demi-philosopher once said, “Who run the world? Girls! Girls!” So go out there and make your business dream come true! At Lending Loop we support you.

What's your reaction?