Financial support for entrepreneurs can be hard to find — particularly for women. That’s why we established the WESK Financing Fund. With loans of up to $150,000 (or more through our partnerships), WESK is proudly dedicated to helping women like YOU launch and grow sustainable businesses that fuel Saskatchewan’s prosperity. If your business is woman-owned and controlled, you may be eligible for a loan.
We’ve been supporting women entrepreneurs for over 25 years, so rest assured, we get you! Since 1995, we’ve provided $38.8 million to grow member businesses — and helped create 1,685 jobs and counting!
Could your business be next?
Whether you’re ready to apply today, or interested in learning more, we’ve compiled some helpful resources to help you get started. Visit our Loans Workspace to learn more and to apply.
*For a limited time, WESK is accepting applications for its stream of the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). Loans of up to $40,000 are available through WESK’s RRRF to address COVID-19 impacts on short-term stability.
Frequently Asked Questions
Questions about financing? Look no further! Check out our Frequently Asked Questions below.
Do I have to put my own money into the business?
Do I have to put my own money into the business? Yes! The more you’ve personally invested, the more committed you are to making your business work, and the more likely other investors or lenders are to support you. 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.
Also, since 2012, WESK administers the John and Bernice Williams Equity Investment Fund to empower future entrepreneurs to experience success in their business ventures. Women who are not able to come up with the full equity requirement can apply for a loan from this fund to cover 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?
Are there any grants available to women starting a business? WESK offers loans of up to $150,000 ($250K through our partners), but no grants. There has been a great decline in the number of grants available 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?
Will I require security for the loan? Yes, we may use accounts receivable, inventory, equipment, land, buildings, and personal assets to secure the loan.
If I've applied for financing at other institutions and can't obtain funding there, will WESK consider me for a loan?
If I’ve applied for financing at other institutions and can’t obtain funding there, will WESK consider me for a loan? Every situation presents unique challenges and opportunities, but WESK is here to support women where we can. Although we may not be able to help in every situation, we have often been able to provide financing where traditional lenders fall short. If you’d like to have a quick chat about your individual situation, please reach out to an advisor.
What interest rate will my loan be at?
What interest rate will my loan be at? 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. 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?
What types of costs/activities qualify for WESK financing? 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 a question about something more specific, please reach out to an advisor for more information.
What are the terms of a WESK loan?
What are the terms of a WESK loan? 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?
I’m an existing business looking for financing. Do I still qualify even though I am no longer a start-up? Absolutely! WESK provides financing for businesses of all sizes and stages! New, existing, expanding, even purchasing a business!
Does my business and I both need to be physically in Saskatchewan?
Does my business and I both need to be physically in Saskatchewan? Generally, yes, WESK loans are for Saskatchewan residents looking to start or expand their businesses in Saskatchewan.
You can still qualify for loans to expand outside of the province as long as your company is still headquartered here. If you and your business are in another province, have you heard about our sister organizations?
- Alberta Women Entrepreneurs
- Women’s Enterprise Center of Manitoba
- Women’s Enterprise Center of British Columbia
Looking to move to Saskatchewan and expand your business into the province? We are happy to discuss the specifics of your situation to 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?
I only own 50% of my business, can I still qualify for a loan from WESK? The short answer – Maybe. Generally speaking, 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.
If I pay back my loan early, will I be subject to a penalty?
If I pay back my loan early, will I be subject to a penalty? No, you may pay down your loan at anytime without penalty!
How long does it take to get a loan from WESK?
How long does it take to get a loan from WESK? That depends on if you’ve completed your business plan. The more prepared you are, the quicker the process. Your first step is to meet with a WESK Business Advisor, who will help you complete your plan. Once all your documentation is received by the lending department, the review, decision, and disbursal process usually takes about two-three weeks.
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 meet your needs.
If the loan is denied, may I appeal?
If the loan is denied, may I appeal? 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.