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Small Business Funding for Women (Women's Enterprise Initiative)

It is estimated that by the end of 2010, there will be over one million female entrepreneurs in Canada alone. With the substantial growth of women owning and running small businesses, there is a need to increase funding and financial incentives to maintain the consistent growth of women in the entrepreneurial workforce.

Photo Credit: Randy Kashka via Flickr

In an effort to assist and support women entrepreneurs, Western Economic Diversification Canada established the Women's Enterprise Initiative (WEI). This non-profit initiative has offices in each of the four western provinces and provides business information and services (including business loans), advisory services and training options aimed at women business owners. To access the WEI Loan Program, you must be:

  • A legal entity 50% or more owned and controlled by a woman or women.
  • Operating or about to operate in one of the four western provinces.
  • Be able to submit a business plan that outlines a viable business (WEI will counsel you on how to develop a business plan).
  • Seeking financing up to a maximum of $150,000.
  • Seeking financing for start-up, expansion or the purchase of an existing business.

(Western Enterprise Initiative, http://www.wd.gc.ca/eng/274.asp, retrieved December 21, 2010) Each province has its own lending and financial requirements, therefore it is best to read and review the Western Enterprise Initiative Provincial websites for exact details. British Columbia: http://www.womensenterprise.ca/ Alberta: http://www.awebusiness.com/pages/home/default.aspx Saskatchewan: http://www.womenentrepreneurs.sk.ca/ Manitoba: http://www.wecm.ca/ In addition to financial assistance, Provincial Women's Enterprise Initiatives also support a variety of events. These events range from training to networking opportunities. Even if you don't need the financial assistance in developing your small business, consider joining one of the provincial initiatives to build your network, liaise with potential clients, and create invaluable partnerships with other female entrepreneurs.

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