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British Columbia Government Loans and Grants

Loans in British Columbia

If you are a small business owner in British Columbia and need some financial assistance, there are numerous British Columbia programs of which you can take advantage.  Here is a look at some of the British Columbia loan programs that you may be able to use in order to obtain the money that you need to keep your business running.

Aquaculture and Environment Research Fund

This British Columbia program is designed to support research on environmental aspects related to aquaculture, particularly those that will allow for sustainable management and operational practices.  The program was created by the Science Council of British Columbia.

Advanced Technology Innovation Fund

This British Columbia fund is sponsored by Industry Canada and delivered by the BC Advanced Systems Institute.  It is designed to give support to companies in British Columbia for technology development in the computer technology, health informatics, and multimedia industries.  The support will provide up to 75% of eligible project costs, but not more than $100,000.  This money is then repaid through sales royalties.  British Columbia companies must prove the innovativeness of their project and be able to complete it within 18 months.

BC Feeder Associations Loan Guarantee Program

This British Columbia loan can be used to purchase bred heifers and calves and can be for up to 100% of the purchase cost.  The cattle will be branded when purchased and will be sold in the name of the association.  Limitations of the loan are dependent on the member’s time with the association.  The loan is for five years with annual payments, including principal and interest.  This can be either in equal annual payments or smaller payments during the first two years, followed by larger payments in the final three years.

Every year, the offspring of the original cattle are sold and the proceeds applied to the British Columbia loan.  Any surpluses are given to the member, and any differences are paid by the member.  Once the loan is repaid, the cattle and any remaining offspring are signed over to the member.

Every member must make a cash deposit to cover the value of the cattle.  The British Columbia loan guarantee is 15% greater than the highest annual loan balance, allowing commercial lenders to finance the livestock.

For more information, contact:

Ken Corriani
Assistant Director, Industry Competitiveness Branch
Ministry of Agriculture and Lands
PO Box 9120 Stn Prov Govt.
Victoria, BC V8W 9E4
Phone:  250-356-1648

B.C. Medical Innovations Fund

If you are part of the health science sector in British Columbia, then you may be eligible for the BCMIF.  This British Columbia fund is designed to help attract new technology and developments in the health care and life sciences.  The fund has approximately $1 billion invested in over 100 companies.

For more information, contact:

BC Medical Innovations Fund
1095 West Pender Street, Suite 1120
Vancouver, BC  V6E 2M6
Phone:  604-689-0305
Email:  info@bcmif.com

BC Mining Exploration Tax Credit

This is a tax credit for companies that conduct mineral exploration in British Columbia.  It is claimed when filing T-1 or T-2 tax returns.

For more information, call:  1-800-663-7867

BC Mining Flow-through Share Tax Credit

This British Columbia credit is for companies that invest in flow-through shares and allows them to claim a tax credit up to 20% of their BC flow-through mining costs.

For more information, call:  1-800-663-7867

BUY BC

This is a $9.5 million program that increases awareness for British Columbia foods, beverages, and agricultural products.  It is administered by the Food Industry Branch of the British Columbia Ministry of Agriculture and Food.  This British Columbia fund was designed to strengthen the food industry by creating new markets for products, and primary clients include branded product suppliers.  Financial assistance is provided to help support marketing activities of British Columbia’s businesses.

Eligible applicants are those involved in the production, processing, or marketing of British Columbia food, beverage, and agriculture products.  The applicants must have at least three firms in the sector, as well as one other level of the food chain.  At least 51% of the direct production cost must come from British Columbia.

In order for a project to be considered, it must be an incremental activity, as well as financially viable.  The British Columbia project must also meet other eligibility standards of the program, which you will be advised of at your initial screening.  Funding can range from 10% - 50% of the eligible costs and cannot be used for ongoing promotions.  Limited availability of British Columbia funds may result in lower than requested amounts.

Community Futures Development Corporations

One of the programs that you may be able to take advantage of is the Community Futures Development Corporations.  Also known as the CFDCs, these are part of a government initiative designed to help rural communities.  There are over thirty in British Columbia that work in conjunction with other federal and provincial departments.

There are two main British Columbia programs that are useful to small business owners:  the loans program and the self employment program.  Your local CFDC office will have the information on how to apply for these programs.

The loans programs allow business owners to receive a loan of up to $125,000 to be used for starting a British Columbia business, expanding a business, or to help stabilize your business.  To be accepted for this loan, a committee made up of volunteers will look at your application.  Things such as the potential and viability of your business, where it is located, how many local jobs it creates, and your ability to repay the loan, among other consideration, is reviewed.

The self employment program allows participants of B.C. Benefits to create a small business to use in place of income assistance.  To qualify, you must have been on Youth Works or Disability Benefits Level 2 for at least three months.  You must also prove difficulty in becoming employed or have been on public support for a long period.  The program offers many assistance with starting a British Columbia business, including training, assistance with business plans, day care subsidies, and more.

Community Investment Loan Fund

This British Columbia fund is run by the Working Opportunity Fund and is sponsored by private investment.  It provided CFDC offices with over $4.7 million in funds to loan entrepreneurs.

For more information, contact your CFDC office or call:  1-888-338-WEST

Employee Share Ownership

This British Columbia program allows employees to take a 20 percent tax credit if they invest in their employer’s business and can be used by both publicly and privately traded companies.

For more information, contact:

Business Investment Branch
4th Floor 1405 Douglas Street
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 9W1
Phone:  1-800-665-6597

Or

Business Investment Branch
Suite 730-999 Canada Place, Vancouver
Vancouver, British Columbia V6C 3E1
Phone:  1-800-665-5457
Email:  BC.InBusiness@gems2.gov.bc.ca

Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program

This British Columbia program was created to assist entrepreneurs with disabilities in the rural community.  To qualify, you must live in the rural community and have a disability that impairs your ability to perform basic activities associated with business ownership.  The program offers loans up to $75,000 with variable repayment terms.  These loans can be used for starting or upgrading a British Columbia business, developing promotional material, and as working capital to increase revenue.

For more information, call:  1-888-338-WEST

Export Express Credit

This British Columbia credit is designed for companies wanting to promote in a foreign market.  The Mercantile Finance Services Ltd. offers unsecured loans up to $50,000 with flexible repayment terms.  To qualify, you must have at least a two year operating history in exports and have annual sales under $5 million.  There is also a non-refundable $200 application fee when applying.

You can apply using this application.

Export Guarantee Program

This British Columbia funding program is designed to assist companies with receiving additional financing for exports and foreign activities.  It provides guarantees for a variety of British Columbia loans, including those for working capital, foreign investments, and equipment purchases.  Coverage ranges from 75-100%, depending on the amount of the loan.  To qualify, you must participate in exporting or foreign investments and have a financial institution that is willing to establish credit.

You can apply using this application.

First Citizens’ Fund

The fund gives loans to Native businesses for startup, expansion, or upgrading.  It will assist all types of British Columbia businesses, but will not finance revolving lines of credit or refinancing.  Loans are given up to $75,000, and up to 40% of this money can be forgiven after 60% of the loan has been paid.  Terms vary from 2 to 10 years and interest rates vary from 1-5%.  A 2% fee is charged on all British Columbia loans and is used to provide advisory services.

The objectives of these British Columbia loans are to support aboriginal economic development by creating business management skills, creating successful businesses, and expanding current businesses and opportunities.  To be eligible, you must be a North American Aboriginal residing in British Columbia, have a sole-proprietorship, partnership, registered company, or joint-venture business structure, and the business must be at least 51% Aboriginal owned.

You can receive application information and additional loan details from Aboriginal financial institutions.

The Health Product and Functional Food Program

This British Columbia program is designed to foster growth in the functional food and health product industries.  It strives to improve the quality of life for consumers by promoting products and services that are produced in an environmentally-friendly and economically-sustainable manner.

International Financial Activity

This British Columbia program helps eligible corporations that work with international financial activities inside of British Columbia.  It gives a provincial income tax refund on income earned while conducting international financial business.  An eligible British Columbia corporation must register itself and its employees into the program.

Investment Agriculture Foundation

This is a non-profit group that helps to fund British Columbia projects in the agri-food industry.  Projects must produce results that benefit the agriculture industry as a whole.  Because of this, proposals should include items such as:  capturing marketplace opportunities, promoting food safety and quality, promoting “green” practices, developing cooperation and partnerships, and more.

Proposals also need to focus on other areas of the agri-food industry.  These include fostering growth and employment, as well as ways to adapt to structural change.  They should focus on self-reliance of the industry with great cooperation and partnerships between British Columbia companies.

In order to qualify, the funds need to be contributing to projects that are self sufficient and will not give income support to a firm or individual.  The benefits of the project must be greater than the costs and benefit the industry as a whole.  Funding is to be given only for a limited period and not on an on-going basis.  Projects that are industry direct will receive priority, and all recipients must establish a performance management framework.

Job Creation Partnership/Target Wage Subsidy Program

Both of these are considered non-repayable British Columbia grants.  The Job Creation Partnership is designed to get HRSDC clients working again.  It can help provide a weekly salary, as well as capital costs.  The cost of the venture is shared between the applicant and the department, and the contract cannot last longer than a year (52 weeks).  In most cases, the applicant will pay for everything up front and then receive reimbursement.

The Targeted Wage Subsidy Program gives employers assistance if they hire HRSDC clients.  These employers can receive up to 60% of the hourly wage for a term no longer than 78 weeks.  The employer pays the full salary and then receives a monthly reimbursement.

You can apply for these programs using this application.

The Science & Technology Fund

This British Columbia fund helps organizations with operating expenses.  The projects must complement the BC Innovation Council’s key focus areas, including:  expediting commercialization of products and services, developing a relationship between research institutions and industry, promoting public awareness, and building partnerships with government policy makers.

Security Compliance Loan

This British Columbia loan allows your company to make the security upgrades needed to meet U.S. border security requirements.  Meeting these requirements allows for reduced clearance times crossing the border.  Loan amounts can cover up to 85% of the upgrade cost and up to $150,000.  Most are repayable within three years.  To qualify, you must have at least a three year operating history and agree to work with an approved advisory service that will conduct a security analysis.

You can apply for these programs using this application.

Venture Capital Programs

This British Columbia program is designed to encourage investments in local business by giving the investors a 30% tax credit.  Investments must be made through the Venture Capital Corporation, which then invests in qualifying British Columbia small businesses.  There are three programs:  the Equity Capital Program which works with small businesses in B.C., the Community Venture Capital Program that works with small businesses outside of the lower mainland, and the Green Venture Capital Program that works with “green” businesses.

For more information, contact:

Business Investment Branch
4th Floor 1405 Douglas Street
Victoria, British Columbia V8W 9W1
Phone:  1-800-665-6597
Email:  BC.InBusiness@gems2.gov.bc.ca

Western Youth Entrepreneurs Program

This British Columbia program assists persons living in the rural Western Canadian community that are between the ages of 18 and 25 that have a creative business idea and need help developing it into a functional work plan.  Eligible applicants can receive loans up to $10,000 in business loans with variable repayment terms, along with a network of support organizations.

For more information, call:  1-888-338-WEST

Women’s Enterprise Society of B.C.

This British Columbia society was designed to assist women entrepreneurs.  It offers a variety of services to assist with self employment and entrepreneurship.  To be eligible, your company must be at 51% owned and controlled by woman/women, operating in British Colombia, and the owner must be a citizen or landed immigrant.  The British Columbia society creates a $5 million loan fund to assist women entrepreneurs with loans no greater than $100,000.  The average British Columbia loan amount is about $20,000.  The society also assists with applying for other sources of assistance, provides counseling and mentoring, and offers other business services.

For more information contact:

The Women’s Enterprise Society of BC
#14-2070 Harvey Ave., Kelowna, BC V1Y 8P8
Phone:  250-868-7014
Email:  info@wes.bec.ca

Working Opportunity Fund

This British Columbia fund is registered under the employee investment act and is owned by shareholders.  Its goal is to earn a return for its investors by investing in British Columbia companies.  Investors receive a provincial and a federal tax credit of 15%.  The British Columbia fund invests in small and medium businesses with high growth potential.  Investments average between $500,000 and $5 million.  However, only select industries are eligible, including:  advanced manufacturing, environment, film and entertainment, information technology, life sciences, and tourism.

For more information, contact:

GrowthWorks
Box 11170, Royal Centre
2600-1055 W. Georgia Street
Vancouver, BC V6E 3R5
Phone:  604-633-1418

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