If entrepreneurs want their small businesses to grow, they need adequate funding during the start-up phase. Since start-ups come with substantial risk, many conventional lenders and government agencies are hesitant to extend support, saving resources for established businesses and organizations. This situation makes it challenging for many small enterprises to get off the ground. However, there are some resources available for them. Discover three of the options for start-up funding in British Columbia (BC) to help grow your business.
Innovate BC is a Crown Agency that represents the Government of British Columbia and reports to the Ministry of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation. This ministry works to promote technology advancements, foster economic growth, and support small businesses in BC.
Financing Through Innovate BC
Start-ups in the province of British Columbia can receive funding from Innovate BC through two programs: hiring and R&D grants or with the BC Fast Pilot program. Innovate BC also partners with the National Research Council of Canada’s Industrial Research Assistance Program (NRC IRAP) to help small and medium-sized enterprises develop a pilot plan to demonstrate how their technology would work in real world situations. To qualify for pilot funding, a start-up must be an incorporated, BC-based business with fewer than 500 employees. They need a prototype of their technology and a potential customer for their product or service. Additionally, they must meet all NRC IRAP criteria for securing financial support, including having an industrial technology advisor (ITA).
For more than 25 years, WeBC has assisted women in the province with starting, leading, and growing small businesses. As part of the Women’s Enterprise Initiative (WEI), this non-profit organization partners with regional groups and delivers financing, skills development, advisory services, and mentoring to entrepreneurs across BC.
Financing Through WeBC
The funding program offers business loans of up to $150,000 for qualifying applicants. Eligible participants are women who own more than half (51%) of a business that’s registered and located in BC. They must also be older than 19, living in the province, and Canadian citizens or permanent residents. For husband and wife-led businesses, the woman needs to only own and control 50% of the enterprise.
Women also need a business plan, business skills, credit history, cash or equity contribution, and security to apply for a loan through WeBC. Acceptable forms of security include highly stable investments not part of Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and business or personal assets, such as property or equipment. If a woman has limited security, they can apply for an unsecured loan.
Since the eligibility criteria are extensive, the organization guides each applicant through the process and offers funding primarily on the plan’s feasibility and the strength of the vision. Additionally, WeBC customizes financing solutions to meet the unique needs of individual women entrepreneurs.
Community Futures Revelstoke
This non-profit and community-based organization offers numerous services to entrepreneurs in Revelstoke, BC, including financing for start-up businesses. Since 1987, Community Futures Revelstoke has approved over $26.3 million in loans and helped create 2,100 jobs.
Unlike traditional lenders, Community Futures Revelstoke is typically less concerned with the risk posed by start-ups. It also does not use a formula to determine who obtains a loan. Instead, they evaluate every enterprise and business plan individually.
Financing Through Community Futures Revelstoke
Enterprises can obtain up to $150,000 loans through Community Futures Revelstoke. This funding comes with business counselling, competitive interest rates, and adjustable repayment schedules.
To apply, entrepreneurs first meet with a business analyst to review their plan and establish that it meets eligibility criteria. If the start-up qualifies, the business analyst will discuss the loan application process, fees, and requirements with the applicant. Then, Community Futures Revelstoke conducts a financial investigation into the entrepreneur and proposal before submitting the application to the Loans Committee. This group will ultimately decide whether or not the small business owner receives funding.
Receive Start-Up Capital from Easly
Aside from BC start-up funding opportunities, there are several other choices for entrepreneurs looking to expand their services and scale up their businesses. If your BC-based enterprise receives funding from the government, you may be eligible for financing from Easly.
At Easly, we work with businesses that receive funding from the government in the form of investment tax credits and grants and bring those funds forward. Businesses receive on-demand, non-dilutive advances on their tax credit refunds and grant disbursements through our Capital-as-a-Service platform.
Contact us today to learn more about our services and how you can obtain R&D funding for your start-up.