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Microloan program expanding

Wednesday January 30, 2013

A microloan program is being expanded to help women in remote communities in northwestern Ontario start small businesses.

The PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise is one of six not-for-profit organizations receiving a total of $178,500 to expand microloan programs in northwestern Ontario.

“Finding the financing to start a business in remote communities is challenging to say the least,” said Rosalind Lockyer, PARO’s executive director in a press release. “This new funding allows us to extend our successful women’s peer lending circle model to remote communities to help meet those challenges.”

Lockyer added that the centre is also raising money from investors and donors to add a small grant component to the microloan program.

Microloan programs target low-income people who do not have access to credit, providing small loans to help set up businesses to individuals who may not otherwise be able to get a bank loan.

Microloan programs received international attention after successful applications in developing countries, especially in African nations as well as India.

In 2006, Muhammed Yunas of Bangladesh won the Noble Peace Prize for his work pioneering micro-credit programs for women in his home country.

Since then microcredit programs have expanded across the globe, providing access to credit to millions of people who otherwise would not be able to set up their own business.

An Ontario government press release said 400 microloans will be given out across the province through the microlending for women in Ontario funding.

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