Many newcomers to Canada choose to start their own small businesses and getting things started without business loans can be a challenge. Despite that, finding a conventional loan at a bank may be an issue for newcomers. ACCESS Community Capital Fund is a charity that works to guarantee loans on behalf of entrepreneurs who don’t have good credit.
ACCESS Community Capital Fund is a guarantee fund which means that uh we basically guarantee loans to clients who may have not so great credit history, who may be newcomers and have not yet established credit here in Canada and who don’t have a lot of assets and are interested in obtaining a loan for the purpose of entrepreneurship. We have investors that invest in ACCESS, so they give us an investment of a thousand dollars or $5,000, and that becomes our fund. So we’ve got a certain amount of money that is a fund. And what happens is, let’s say you’re an entrepreneur and you come to us looking for a loan because you can’t get a loan from the bank, from a mainstream bank organization. So what we do is we go with you to the bank, and we guarantee the loan so that you get your $5,000 loan from a financial institution, and we guarantee the loan on your behalf. So the bank is comfortable extending the credit as opposed to someone who doesn’t have any guarantee and is not then able to get access to the loan.
Individuals seeking a loan for, to start a business or expand a business, they choose ACCESS because we are a registered charity and we offer affordable interest rates. Currently, our rates are at prime plus 1% as opposed to predatory lending. Companies that offer up to 600% because they make it very easy to get a loan. But then individuals are sucked into this debt cycle, which they don’t get out of and at times they will need to get a loan to get to pay off another loan. And so the debt cycle continues.
Without ACCESS Community loan, it’s hard for me to achieve my goals and business and boost my business. And in the initial stages, I get a cheque for 1000 Canadian dollars. And this is beneficial for me. I boost up my business and there is one exhibition and Backyard Hall. So they gave me a cheque, then it’s possible for me to participate in this exhibition and make my clients.
ACCESS Capital Funds… they gave me funds for starting a business. It was very helpful for me. I used my loan to buy my stuff when I got my first client. It was very good. I was very happy to sell my things. And I am very thankful for the ACCESS Community Fund. It was good for me.
In addition to giving out loans, we also offer support to potential applicants and clients as well. We help entrepreneurs in general in terms of helping them put together a solid application that can stand the best chance possible of getting a loan. But we also want to go beyond that and help them be equipped with the skills that they need in order to run a business successfully. And we do realize that especially with immigrant newcomers who want to start a business in Canada, they do face numerous barriers, which a lot of the time hinge on not knowing what that Canadian environment is, and how things work. So we try to provide those supports by referring them to places like enterprise Toronto, where they can get that initial help. And then along the way, we keep in touch with them and try to support them by providing additional workshops through access, also one-on-one consultations, just to ensure that they’re going through the right steps and making available the right information that they need.
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