Vancity: Most Innovative Women Entrepreneurs Programme Canada 2020


Countless studies have shown women to be profitable entrepreneurs, yet they still only claim a fraction of available global funding. Despite the record-breaking numbers of female-founded unicorns in 2019 and the all-time highs for worldwide corporate capital-raising in 2020, women’s share of the pie has dropped even lower. Vancity, a Canada-based finance provider, is committed to changing this. In partnership with the non-profit Women’s Enterprise Centre, Vancity supports female entrepreneurs in British Columbia via a $5m loan fund. Vancity’s Unity Women Entrepreneurs Loan programme provides established female-led businesses with up to $150,000 in financing, with interest-free and interest-only payment options over the first year as well as a five-year waiver on fees. Participants receive professional support services, including networking opportunities and educational resources covering topics like financial management, leadership and marketing. The pandemic continues to threaten the progress of female entrepreneurs. Vancity has responded with swiftness and solidarity. It launched a $200m term-deposit fund to provide an investment vehicle that supports those impacted by Covid-19. It introduced a “bridge” loan for the self-employed as well as a “pivot” loan for small businesses adapting to support the Covid response. Vancity offered loan deferral options, lowered credit card interest rates and waived fees for online and phone banking transactions. It set-up dedicated telephone banking lines for small businesses and another for clients requiring additional support, including senior citizens and people with disabilities. The judging panel applauds the company’s strong community engagement and declares Vancity winner of the 2020 Most Innovative Women Entrepreneurs Programme (Canada) award.

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