Financing

Financing for Women Entrepreneurs in Saskatchewan

You’re bold, you’re fierce, and you’re doing it, but you’re having trouble finding funding. Financing for entrepreneurs can be difficult – particularly for women. Fueled by empowerment and intense pride for your tenacity, we established the WESK Financing Fund for women-owned and controlled businesses. With loans of up to $150,000 (or more through our partnerships), we can focus on your prosperity while you focus on establishing and growing your business in Saskatchewan.

Our financing for women entrepreneurs has provided $38.8 million to grow member businesses and has helped create 1,685 jobs and counting! We’re confident that your business is worth the investment.

Fun fact — we can do the splits. We’re not trying to brag, we promise! We just want you to know we’re more flexible than your traditional lender. Each journey is unique, and we’re willing to work with your specific needs to make your entrepreneurial dreams come true.

Am I Eligible?

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Be a legal entity.
  • Be a woman, or an operation owned and controlled by a woman, or women.* Be a Canadian citizen or landed immigrant (permanent resident); or a legal entity owned and controlled by a Canadian citizen(s) or landed immigrant(s).
  • Be a registered business in Saskatchewan or Western Canada.
  • Be operating or about to operate, in Saskatchewan.
  • Be a Saskatchewan resident, 18 years of age or older.
  • Be a full member of WESK for the duration of the loan.

* “Woman owned” is defined as > 50% ownership, however, under certain circumstances 50% ownership may be considered.

How Do I Apply?

You’ve planted the seed, now we can help it grow. Our aim is to connect you with as many life-changing resources as possible so you can gain some ground. We can provide you with the information you’ll need and help you complete your plan. Let’s get you three steps closer to achieving your goals!

Step 1: Tell us what you’re up to.

If you’re looking for a bit of inspiration or a place to start, try out our free tools for small businesses below. If you’re looking to expand or purchase a business, we have a template for that too! And if you have a completed business plan, go right ahead and skip to Step 2!

Step 2: Get the ball rolling.

Once you’ve completed the forms below, we can process your application. If you have further questions, a member of our advising team can give you some extra guidance.

Step 3: Let’s chat.

It’s time to connect with us. Click the link below and remember to submit your documents.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I have to put my own money into the business?
Open

People invest in those who invest in themselves – the more money you put into your business, the more committed you are to making it work, and investors love that kind of thing. A general rule of thumb is 20% of your project cost. You may be able to get financing through a bank loan, government loan or grant, personal investors, or even from friends and family.

If you’re not able to come up with the full equity requirement, WESK offers the John and Bernice Williams Equity Investment Fund, which covers half of the needed equity up to $10,000 maximum.

This is only available for clients applying for a WESK term loan so contact an advisor if you have any further questions. 

Are there any grants available to women starting a business in Saskatchewan?
Open

While WESK offers loans of up to $150,000 ($250K through our partners), we don’t offer grants. There has been a decline in the demand for grant funding over the past 10 years. Most are federally funded and target specific industries, regions, or groups (visible minorities etc.).

For a list of available grants (and other funding sources), check out the Government of Canada’s Grant and Funding resources. 

Will I require security for the loan?
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Yes, we may use accounts receivable, inventory, equipment, land, buildings, and personal assets to secure the loan.

What interest rate will my loan be at?
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Generally speaking, most loans are at a fixed rate of +3% over the prime lending rate when the date the letter of offer is signed. Sometimes rates may be adjusted slightly higher or lower, based on the specific risk level of the loan. Rest assured that this rate will stay the same for the entire term of the loan, so you can have peace of mind that your payments will not need to increase when interest rates rise.

What types of costs/activities qualify for WESK financing?
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The opportunities are endless for women entrepreneurs who are as motivated as you are!

In general, eligible activities may include: the purchase of tangible and/or intangible assets, working capital for inventory or accounts receivable, start-up costs, or even the purchase of an existing business.

If you have something specific in mind, please reach out to an advisor for more information – we’d love to hear your idea!

What are the terms of a WESK loan?
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Generally, a WESK loan is repaid over a 5-year term. However, depending on the size of the loan and the specifics of the situation, the term of the loan can vary from 1 year up to a maximum of 7 years. Repayment terms longer than 7 years may be available for special situations.

I’m an existing business looking for financing. Do I still qualify even though I am no longer a start-up?
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Absolutely! WESK provides financing for businesses of all sizes and phases. Whether you’re just starting the hustle or have been hustling hard, we’re here to provide financing to women in every stage of the game.

Does my business and I both need to be physically in Saskatchewan?
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Generally, yes, WESK loans are for Saskatchewan residents looking to start or expand their businesses in Saskatchewan.

BUT, you can still qualify for loans to expand outside of the province as long as your company is headquartered here. If you and your business are in another province, check out our sister organizations that empower, inspire, and provide entrepreneur funding:

Also – if you’re looking to move to Saskatchewan and expand your business into the province, we’d love to discuss the specifics of your situation and see if we can find a way to support you.

I only own 50% of my business, can I still qualify for a loan from WESK?
Open

We’re entering a bit of a grey area here – the short answer? Maybe. A majority (50.1%) ownership by one or more women is required, however, in limited circumstances, 50% ownership may be considered. Please contact an advisor for additional information and to see if you fit into this grey area.

If I pay back my loan early, will I be subject to a penalty?
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We’re not one to penalize go-getters, so you may pay down your loan at anytime without penalty.

How long does it take to get a loan from WESK?
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Once you’ve met with a WESK Business Advisor, who will help you complete your business plan, and all your documentation is received by the lending department, the review, decision, and disbursal process usually takes about 2 to 3 weeks. 

That’s if the stars align and everything is smooth sailing, however, we understand that life can throw you curveballs. If you need the funds sooner than that, please reach out to an advisor as soon as possible to see if we can get the ball rolling. 

If the loan is denied, may I appeal?
Open

Yes. Within 15 business days of the date of the decline letter, please provide, in writing to the CEO, sound business reasons why your application should be reconsidered, and include any new information not previously shared.

The CEO will review your original application, assessment, appeal letter, and gather any additional input from you and/or staff as needed. If the CEO feels there are sufficient grounds for the appeal, the CEO will forward the material to two individuals independent from the loans process. From here, a final decision on the appeal will be made within two weeks. The CEO will then contact you to explain the decision, which is binding.

Apply for a Loan

Ready to submit your documents? Apply today to get the ball rolling! If you’re stuck, book a business advising appointment and let us clear things up!

Questions?

Our team of business advisors are here to help! Advising appointments are free (and unlimited) with a Trailblazer or Changemaker package.