Deadline Approaching for Forgivable Loans for Women-Run Businesses – Women’s Enterprise Initiative Stream


Deadline to Apply – March 31, 2021

The Women’s Enterprise Initiative Stream is a separate funding program through the Regional Relief and Recovery Program which provides loans of up to $60,000, which are partially forgivable, for women-run businesses to help them cope with financial hardship and recovery from COVID-19.

Applicants must first try to access the Canada Emergency Business Account (more info), which offers similar funding, and can then apply if they are either declined or are deemed ineligible for that program.

Read below for the details of this forgivable loan program and the eligibility rules.  For full information and to apply, please click here to visit the Women’s Enterprise Centre, which is handling applications on behalf of Western Economic Diversification Canada.

Loan Details

  • The loans have no interest and no required principal payments until December 31, 2022
  • 25% (not to exceed $10,000) on the first $40,000, can be forgiven provided you have paid 75% of the original loan amount prior to December 31, 2022;
  • 50% (not to exceed $10,000) on amounts between $40,001 to $60,000, can be forgiven provided you have paid 50% of the original loan amount prior to December 31, 2022;
  • After December 31, 2022, the loan if not repaid will be converted to a three-year term loan with interest rates up to 5% and must be repaid no later than December 31, 2025


  • Applicants must be woman who owns and controls at least 51% of a business that is registered and located in BC, and she must be 19 years old or older, living in BC, and a citizen or permanent resident
  • Eligible applicants include sole proprietors, partnerships and corporations.
  • Business must have been established prior to March 1, 2020 and must be impacted adversely due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • The business should have been viable and not experiencing financial pressures prior to March 1, 2020;
  • Business is ineligible or not receiving other federal supports for the same expenses (namely the rent subsidy for rent costs, or the wage subsidy for salary costs)

Eligible Costs for Support

  • Loans are to cover only fixed costs of a business, such as property taxes, utilities, equipment leases, professional fees, bank interest charges, PPE, office supplies, etc
  • Other expenses associated with retooling, rethinking workflows, automation, robotics, developing new markets, etc. ARE eligible for funding as well
  • Wages and salaries — only if not for the owner herself, and only if not using the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy
  • Rent — only if not using the Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance 

Ineligible Costs for Support

  • Projects in the pre-start-up phase for which seed or early-stage capital is required
  • Any business in which the owner does not have operational control over important aspects of the business (this may include some franchises)
  • Any business for which the majority of gross revenues do not come from direct sales of the business’s products or services (i.e. Multi-tiered marketing or direct sales businesses)
  • Any projects that support businesses that do not operate on a for-profit basis
  • Any investment that can be considered speculative
  • Refinancing of existing debt from another lender