Indigenous Women’s Entrepreneur Program

NACCA has launched an Indigenous Women’s Entrepreneurship Program (IWE) to increase the number of Indigenous women engaging in entrepreneurship and business development in Canada. The Micro-loan Program will support Indigenous women who have small home-based and/or part-time businesses. Indigenous women face additional challenges in entrepreneurship stemming largely from their gender and care- giving role within their family and community.

These challenges include:

  • Access to financing: Indigenous women entrepreneurs are hindered by eligibility criteria for equity, collateral, proven credit history, full time involvement in the business and lack of micro loans available.
  • Balancing responsibilities between family and business: a survey that was completed in 2000 found that Indigenous women’s responsibilities for children, grandchildren, parents, and extended family can impact women’s growth.
  • Fewer financial resources to invest in their business due to their lower average income and increase reliance on government transfers.
  • Sexism results in women not taken as seriously as men, particularly in male dominated industries.
  • Lack of support within their communities and from their Chiefs and Councils as Indigenous men are often favored within their communities and receive preferential treatment and,
  • Lack of knowledge and business training in the areas of financial literacy and business planning, regulations, and management. Participation in workshops and training opportunities are often hampered by family responsibilities and lack of transportation.

Eligible Applicants:

Must be Indigenous (First Nations, Metis, and Inuit) women who majority own (51%) and operate or want to start their own business are eligible.

Loans are:

  • Up to a maximum of $20,000 (loans and non repayable contributions are issued together)
  • Terms will vary based on amount
  • Rates will vary based on credit
  • Requires a Credit Bureau Inquiry with Equifax
  • Applicant must be able to provide a minimum of 5% cash equity
  • Principal prepayments can be made voluntarily at any time without fees or penalties
  • Application fee of $250 will need to be paid once application is complete
  • Any legal fees if applicable
  • No payments and no interest for 12 months

» Download IWE Application

» Download the IWE Business Plan and Cash Flow Template