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Vintage Bike Restoration – Joseph

Joseph has started a business in which he restores and sells vintage bicycles. He has 30 years of experience repairing, restoring, and painting vintage cars where the quality of the paintwork required far exceeds the quality required on bicycles. Joseph believes this auto-body repair experience equips him with the ability to produce an excellent product when restoring vintage bicycles. Joseph had to stop working on cars when he injured his ankle and couldn’t do much of the physical work required. Joseph is hoping to take advantage of a demand for vintage bikes in Victoria and has been approved for a loan of $2,730 to purchase the tools and supplies he will need.

Joseph had challenges with alcohol addiction in the past and has been sober for more than a year. Two references who know Joseph well and have helped him with his recovery say he is ‘definitely on the right path’ and is ‘extremely committed to recovery’. Joseph has ‘made some tough choices to stay in recovery and he hasn’t had any slips’. ‘If he goofs up he takes responsibility and tries to improve himself.’ He is also described as someone who is ‘astute, takes direction and asks for advice’.

Joseph’s credit file indicates that he has had some challenges with his credit in the past and has a relatively small amount of outstanding debt. Joseph has also shown a commitment to repairing his credit and paying off his existing debt.

Joseph is clearly talented and takes considerable pride in the work that he does. As he says, ‘it’s a passion for me. They’re vintage, but they’re more than that. They’re really works of art.’ This loan will provide Joseph the opportunity to turn that passion into a business.

Loan term: 2 years

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Seeds of Change by Miiko

Kimiko is in the process of starting a business facilitating sustainability workshops. Kimiko would like to make living sustainably simple and easy for people, not only through education but also through participation. All workshops will be based around various themes in sustainability and include do-it-yourself projects so as to reinforce the ideas being promoted. The workshops will be based around major themes such as: Food Matters – reducing food waste, eating sustainably for cheap and reducing chemical consumption; Chemical Clean Out – making your own household cleaning products; Energy Efficiency – how to perform an energy audit on your home; Sustainability in the Laundry Room – making your own detergent and learning energy and water saving tips; and; Sustaining the Holidays- learning waste management techniques for the holiday season, making eco gifts and decorations, and ideas for how to give greener gifts. Kimiko is aiming to provide 30 workshops over the course of next year.

Kimiko has been approved for a $1,000 loan to buy equipment and supplies for the workshops.

A former employer of Kimiko’s who hired her as an Environmental Outreach Assistant says Kimiko has a ‘good, solid background in issues of sustainability’. She found Kimiko to be ‘very reliable, dependable and capable’ and adds: ‘She works really well with people. She’s delightful’.

Kimiko’s credit file indicates she has relatively short credit history and has a minimal credit balance.

‘I’m passionate about people coming to my workshop and learning all the simple things they can do in their own home to live more sustainably’.

Loan term: 1 year

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Anju’s Pots and Herbs

Anju owns and operates ‘Anju’s Pots and Herbs’, a Galiano Island-based business that creates and sells a selection of succulents in unique arrangements as well as organic herbs. Anju’s Pots and Herbs is located on a property close to the ferry terminal and a provincial park popular with tourists. Anju started the business in May of 2013 and saw it grow over the summer, with a number of visitors to Galiano stopping at her roadside stand as they made their way to and from the ferry. She would like to build on that growth and is applying for a $4,410 loan to build an additional small greenhouse, increase her plant inventory, purchase some tools, and produce some signs for advertising.

A manager of one of Galiano Island’s resorts says “I love Anju’s services. I run a resort…and I watch her pots going out in my guests’ vehicles.” She adds that “it’s nice for my business to have her business next door.” She also observed that Anju is “determined, and aware of all the things that go into being a small business owner on a small island.” A gift shop owner on Galiano who has agreed to be Anju’s mentor says she “loves the whole notion of organic plants and herbs” and adds that there are a number of small farmers doing organic fruits and vegetables, but no one on Galiano doing organic herbs. “There’s a good market for Anju’s products.”

Anju’s credit file indicates that she has had some challenges with her credit in the past but has a relatively small amount of outstanding debt. Anju has also shown a commitment to repairing her credit and paying off her existing debt.

Anju’s enthusiasm for her business is infectious and she is clearly talented and passionate about what she does. This loan will give Anju the opportunity to firmly establish and continue to grow her business.

Loan term: 3 years

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Moccasins by Trena

Trena approached us in July of last year for a loan for her business, Moccasins by Trena. Trena handmakes moccasins of all sizes and has been selling them primarily at the Bastion Square market for the last three years. Last summer, during the five months she was at Bastion Square market and a few other markets, she sold just over 260 moccasins, generating $8,194 in revenue. Trena could have sold more, but she could not afford the advance purchase of enough materials to meet the demand for her moccasins .

With the loan Trena believes she can make and sell at least 360 moccasins this year. She has already started production for the upcoming market season. Trena is applying for a $9807 loan to purchase better tables for the market stand, pay the market fee for the full summer, purchase additional materials, and pay off a credit card on which she put some of her start-up and operating expenses.

Trena is a Métis woman who has acquired much of her knowledge and skill in beading and making moccasins from others in the local Métis community. She also has taken the Aboriginal BEST (Business Entrepreneurship Skills Training) program with the Métis Nation of Greater Victoria. The benefits of the BEST program have been evident since we started working with Trena. She has kept detailed records of all her sales and expenses and is able to give precise information on the type and number of moccasins she sold last year. In fact she asked to put her application on hold until she was able to finalize her bookkeeping records from last year, insisting that she needed to know precisely what happened last year before making final decisions on the need for a loan. That she has been selling moccasins at Bastion Square Market for three years and has consistently increased her sales is an indication of Trena’s perseverance and passion for her business.

Trena has a brain injury (sustained in a car accident) that means she cannot process a lot of verbal information at a time. Despite this, Trena has consistently responded well and promptly to feedback and questions. We’ve been impressed by Trena’s passion for the product she makes.

Trena’s instructor for the Aboriginal BEST (Business Entrepreneurship Skills Training) program says Trena has a ‘special talent for beading and making moccasins’. Her instructor found that Trena ‘worked really hard at understanding how to start and run a business’. She described Trena as ‘resourceful’, ‘eager’ and a ‘networker’ and added that Trena would always ask questions when she didn’t understand a concept. ‘Trena was one of the top in the class in terms of perseverance and how she has used the material she learned.’

Loan term: 4 years

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Michael Walsh Addiction Recovery Solutions

Michael’s business is called Michael Walsh Addiction Recovery Solutions. He will be providing three services to people facing substance use and addiction challenges.

In 2013 Michael was approved for a $5,000 loan with a four year term to help market and brand his business in an effort to show how he is an expert in the field of substance misuse and addiction. He repaid his loan early.

Michael provides collaborative recovery management solutions including sober coaching, interventions & medical monitoring services to individuals, families, employers, treatment centres, disability and occupational health providers, government agencies and private companies. As a Substance Use & Addictions Specialist, Michael’s previous work experience has combined working with clients in various stages of change and recovery including: acute medical detox, stabilization, second-stage housing, community-based support groups and non-profits. Along with lived experience with problematic substance use and successful recovery, Michael is an accredited Addiction Recovery Coach and DATAC Certified Specimen Collector & Screening Test Technician.

Institutional clients include: municipal government, occupational health & disability management, treatment centres, unions and several small-to-medium enterprises. Individual clients include: oil and gas workers, construction, healthcare, real estate, high-tech, retail, municipal government, entrepreneurs, managers and executives.

Loan term: 4 years

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I’m Sew Excited – Charlane

Charlane was a participant in Community Micro Lending’s first Launch! Women program, which ran from October 2012 to March 2013. It was delivered as part of a wider Bridges for Women Society 6 month self-employment program. Charlane had a clear vision for what she wanted to do when she finished the program, and she has worked hard over the last 9 months to make it a reality.

This summer, Charlane plans to launch ‘I’m Sew Excited!’ which will distribute ‘entertaining apron kits’ for people to sew their own fun aprons. Charlane has designed five different aprons to choose from, and each kit will include an apron pattern, instructions, embellishments, and fabric. She plans to start selling the kits at markets and fairs this summer. Charlane is applying for a $5,000 loan to purchase the supplies needed to put an initial 125 kits together.

A business coach who worked closely with Charlane on a weekly basis since last fall describes Charlane as a ‘resourceful, dedicated, driven, and hard-working person’. She adds that she has been impressed by how much Charlane has developed her skills and believes Charlane will continue to learn ‘all that is required to run a successful business’.

Charlane’s credit file indicates that she had some challenges with her credit about two years ago, but has now overcome them and has very little outstanding debt.

We have been particularly inspired by Charlane’s positivity, determination, and enthusiasm. She recounted to the loan committee a story about a piece of business advice that someone had given her, “I said yippy skippy, let’s do it!” she told us. The loan will give Charlane the opportunity to put the initial set of kits together and begin to build and expand her business.

Loan term: 4 years

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First Nations Designs – Kathleen

Kathleen is starting First Nations Designs. She plans to make First Nations designs and print them on clothing apparel, arts and crafts. Kathleen is already receiving orders from across the Island for clothing printed with First Nations designs. She currently prints by hand and has thus far filled a number of clothing orders, but has had to turn away others because she does not have the capacity to fill them. If she is able to increase capacity she says she will be able to take orders from sports teams and for larger ceremonies where large numbers of clothing items are needed. Kathleen is applying for a $5,000 loan to purchase materials, supplies, and equipment that will allow her to significantly increase her capacity.

A former employer of Kathleen’s who has known her for 20 years says she has always found Kathleen to be particularly passionate about her art. She adds: “having worked with Kathleen, I think she would definitely be successful as an entrepreneur.”

Kathleen’s credit file indicates that she has a significant amount of debt. Kathleen says she made some mistakes when she was younger and has, at some points, been unable to afford the monthly payments.

The loan will give Kathleen the opportunity to increase her capacity and meet the overwhelming demand for her products. She says she uses her community as an inspiration: “I want to show the members of my community you can do this too.” She’s determined to succeed. “I always set the bar high and I love to go above it!”

Kathleen adds: “Niis’Mass’Uska is my name, my borrowed name is Kathleen E.Andrews. I am the Hereditary Chief of Hesquiaht First Nation, my family ties come from Comox, Cape Mudge and many other nations. I have been married to my wonderful husband Andrew Ben Thomas for 18 years and we have four beautiful daughters and a son who is destined to be the next Hereditary Chief of Hesquiaht. My children are direct descendants of Chief Andy & Maryanne Thomas of Esquimalt Nation. I come from a long line of Chiefs and artists, on my father’s side from Hesquiaht. Our home based business is family run and owned.”

Loan term: 4 years

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Green Earth Organics – Aaron

Aaron owns and operates Green Earth Organics, an organic grocery delivery franchise that delivers pre-selected and customized bins of organic fruits, vegetables, and grocery items. Aaron started the business in May of this year and since then he has managed to attract a number of clients and steadily grow his number of weekly deliveries. Within 6 months Aaron has started the Green Earth Organics franchise, acquired a rental space for his warehouse, purchased a delivery van, and consistently made an average of 25 deliveries a week.

He has spent almost every weekend since May at markets and other events successfully signing up new customers. Aaron has already demonstrated an ability to attract and retain a number of new clients in a relatively short time and appears to have established a good foundation on which to grow the Green Earth Organics Victoria franchise. Aaron is applying for a $5,000 loan to build up his inventory and to pay for marketing events.

Green Earth Organics was started in Vancouver 14 years ago, and at the beginning of this year the President and founder decided to franchise the business. Aaron was the first person he accepted as a franchise because he was ‘impressed’ by Aaron and found Aaron to be ‘very personable and keen’. He says the summer has traditionally been his slowest time of year and he was impressed Aaron was actually able to grow his business during those months. He adds that he ‘fully expects Aaron to double his sales over the next month’.

Aaron’s credit file indicates that he has a relatively small amount of debt that he has accrued while getting his business off the ground. With an increased level of income from his business Aaron should be able to comfortably pay off his existing debt as well as make his monthly payments for the Community Micro Lending loan.

‘I’ve always been into eating healthy and general health and wellness’, says Aaron. The loan will give Aaron the opportunity to further expand his client base and give more people the option to eat healthy. In working with Aaron, we’ve been particularly impressed with how organized he is and how quickly he has been able to establish his business.

Loan term: 4 years

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Mazo Media – Matteus

Matteus is the owner and operator of Mazo Media. As a sole proprietor, Matteus creates and produces videos for small businesses, non-profit organizations and political candidates to use for advertising on their websites and social media. Matteus has been making videos for over ten years and recently identified a business opportunity putting his passion to work. The ‘About’ section of his website reads: ‘A well produced video creates an emotional response to your service or product, whether it be funny or informative. Welcome to the new age of advertising.’ He has been providing his services on a casual basis for much of the last six months. In the last two months he has begun to focus on growing his business and making it a full-time endeavor.

Matteus is currently using out-dated equipment which means that while his work is acceptable to clients, the quality of the end product is not as high as some of his competitors. To expand his client base, Matteus would like to join the Chamber of Commerce which he sees as an opportunity to meet and network with local small business owners who will benefit from his services. Matteus is applying for a $4,970 loan to purchase new equipment (a camera and computer) and a Chamber of Commerce Membership.

A previous co-worker of Matteus’s at Camosun College Students’ Society says the Society uses video as the ‘primary way of communicating with the student body’ and Matteus made their videos while he was there. His previous co-worker says that ‘In the year he hasn’t been with us, we’ve contracted him to do videos for us. His skill in that area is outstanding’. He found Matteus to be ‘very centered’.

Matteus’s credit file indicates that he has accumulated a relatively high level of debt, most of which consists of student loans. He has neither missed nor made a late payment during the reporting period and has kept his credit in good standing. The size of Matteus’s student loans is comparable to most students who have a similar level of education.

The loan will give Matteus the opportunity to produce a higher quality product and expand his client base. In working with Matteus, we’ve been particularly impressed with the initiative he’s shown and the passion he has for making videos.

Loan term: 3 years

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Whole Approach – Stephanii

Stephanii is the owner and operator of Whole Approach, an integrative healthcare business. Stephanii started the business on a part-time basis at the beginning of last year. She is now turning it into a full-time endeavor. For the most part, the integrative healthcare Stephanii practices involves ‘alternative’ approaches to medicine including massage, reiki, and nutrition. Stephanii says her reiki training came at a time when she was experiencing deep personal struggle and didn’t have a lot of resources or support. It was at this point that she began to understand the need for self-care.

Stephanii’s business model showcases her commitment to helping create positive change within her community, and she collaborates with many outreach programs throughout Victoria. ‘The way that I live my life really drives me to do this’, Stephanii says. Whole Approach ‘is about Self-Empowerment through Health-Empowerment’.

She is planning on using space in the apartment she currently rents to see clients and provide treatments. To expand her existing client base, Stephanii would like to re-brand her business and overhaul her website to better convey her approach. She is applying for a loan of $2,450 to rebrand her business, renovate space in her apartment to create a treatment room, and purchase a business license and insurance.

A previous supervisor of Stephanii’s found her to be ‘thoughtful’ and said Stephanii was ‘always looking for solutions’ to various problems. She says Stephanii did a ‘great job’ and she would ‘definitely have her again’. A former client says Stephanii is ‘really committed to making a difference to people and she was ‘really satisfied with her service’. She says she ‘definitely felt better’ after seeing Stephanii.

Stephanii’s credit file indicates that other than student loans, she has a relatively small level of debt and has been disciplined about making her payments. The size of Stephanii’s student loans is in line with what one would expect of someone who completed an undergraduate degree and further education.

Stephanii says her personal approach to treatment and health involves ‘sharing knowledge and learning together’. ‘I like to inspire curiosity through my work.’ The loan will give Stephanni an opportunity to not only build a business, but also share her knowledge and inspire curiosity in more people.

Loan term: 3 years

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