Women’s Enterprise Centre (WEC) announced that additional funds will be made available to BC women business owners through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) to help them cover their business expenses while they focus on economic recovery.
The RRRF is provided by the Government of Canada, through Western Economic Diversification Canada, and distributed to women entrepreneurs in BC by WEC. Over the past seven months, WEC has disbursed over $2 million of the RRRF to women entrepreneurs across the province. New business can now apply for loans up to $60K, and existing RRRF recipients can apply for an additional $20K top-up, with options for forgivable grants for all recipients.
Women-owned businesses that have been negatively affected by the pandemic can use the funds to cover their non-deferrable fixed expenses like employee salaries, rent, utilities, professional fees, insurance, lease and other regular debt servicing payments, cleaning supplies and additional safety measures.
“This financing option helps women business owners manage the uncertainty of the pandemic,” said Melanie Rupp, Director of Loans and Advisory Services at Women’s Enterprise Centre. “Entrepreneurs may have to pivot and learn new ways of doing business. With their bills paid, they can focus their energy on serving their customers and generating revenue.”
The loan fund provides up to $60k, with zero per cent interest, no fees and no payments required until December 31, 2022. If the balance is repaid on or before that date, then up $20K can become a forgivable grant. The portion of the forgivable grant is based on a percentage of the loan: 25 per cent on the first $40k (up to $10k) and 50 per cent on amounts above $40k and up to $60k (up to $10k). Any balance that is unpaid as of January 1, 2023 is converted into a 3-year term loan at five per cent interest.
This funding is only one piece of the puzzle designed top help these businesses survive through their recovery period. Business owners will also have access to WEC’s wrap-around services including complimentary access to a Business Advisor, RRRF Per Mentoring Circles, training and promotional opportunities to support women entrepreneurs in their recovery plan.
More details on the eligibility and application process are available at wec.ca/RRRF.