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Newsletter

March 2021 Newsletter

A note from our team:

First of all, I want to introduce myself; My name is Grant Boothman, I am the Operations Coordinator with Community Micro Lending. A Gustavson graduate, I have been volunteering behind the scenes since November 2019 prior to stepping into this role late last summer. During this time Community Micro Lending has been busy and I am excited to share with you what we have been working on.

Over the past year our dedicated team has been continuously exploring strategies to tighten the net of support for those hit hardest by the economic impacts of this ongoing crisis. Once the Community Connect Calls wrapped up, we launched the Community Support Fund to help businesses bridge the gap to recovery. We’re re-launching the fund to bring in more donations and to encourage more businesses to apply, read on to learn how to apply or donate.

We’ve also been hard at work rebuilding our website and upgrading our digital infrastructure. Working with a team of skilled volunteers, we’ve made some exciting improvements that will help us support our community.

Alongside all of this, programs continued (virtually) and loans were made and repaid. Working with our clients has been one inspirational experience after another and I could not be more grateful to serve our community through my role with Community Micro Lending.

I would love to hear your ideas for supporting our community. You can reach me by email at grant@communitymicrolending.ca and by phone at 778-679-9007. In the meantime, I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and connected.

All the best,
Grant Boothman

Loan Program Update

We are relaunching the Community Support Fund to help businesses bridge the gap to recovery. Offering financial relief in the form of small, community-sourced no fee, no interest loans to enterprises based in the CRD, these loans help businesses access other programs that require matching funds and navigate this ongoing crisis.

With a goal to raise $10,000 we’re asking our community to donate what they can. We are also accepting applications and eligible requests will be filled on a first come first serve basis.

New and Improved Website

We have been hard at work improving the efficiency of our loan procedures. To achieve this, we are rebuilding our website and upgrading our digital infrastructure. The goal of this project is to increase the number of loans we can manage and decrease the cost and staff time associated with each loan.

Upcoming Events

Thanks to support from the City of Victoria, we’re partnering with the Downtown Victoria Business Association and MLA Grace Lore’s Constituency Office to offer a free Q&A session about provincial business grants, including the BC Small and Medium Sized Business Recovery Grant.

Training Program Updates

EY+ Winter Cohort

After a successful pivot to virtual delivery, Community Micro Lending continues to partner with Rise to connect youth from across the country with entrepreneurship skills and resources. Our next cohort graduates this spring! Stay tuned for future cohorts. Thank you to the Citi Foundation for making this program possible.

Entrepreneur Training for Newcomers

Community Micro Lending is partnering with VIRCS to deliver the entrepreneurship stream of Pathways to Professions and Entrepreneurship, a three year program funded by the Government of Canada.

Read more

April 2020 Update

A note from our Executive Director

Reflecting on the last month, I am struck by the power of our many communities to connect, to collaborate and to create solutions to this challenging, ever-changing situation. Since March 13th, an incredible team of volunteers and I have been working hard to tighten the net of support for those hardest hit by the economic impacts of this crisis. We led a three-pronged approach:

  1. Convening standing calls with stakeholders from government, business, the charitable sector and frontline service organizations serving the CRD to increase communication and support a coordinated response;
  2. Building and launching www.covid19communityconnect.ca to amplify the support, asks and offers emerging from the community and these calls;
  3. Creating the Community Support Fund to help local small businesses (read on to learn more)

We also joined the City of Victoria, the Chamber, the Downtown Victoria Business Association and ThinkLocal First in calling for action to support commercial tenants and landlords stuck in an impossible situation. You can read our editorial here

Alongside all of this, programs continued (virtually) and loans were filled. Most importantly, our “why” for doing this work became clearer than ever: the need to connect entrepreneurs with the support and capital they need because when they thrive, our communities thrive and we are collectively more resilient.

All that to say I could not be more grateful to serve our community through my role with Community Micro Lending and I’m excited to share this month’s updates with you. 

As always, I would love to connect and hear your ideas for supporting our community at this time. You can reach me by email at elysia@communitymicrolending.ca and by phone at 250-216-2605. In the meantime, I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and connected. We are all in this together. 

All the best,

Elysia Glover
Executive Director 

Loan Programs

Community Micro Lending was founded during the 2009 financial crisis and the need to connect local entrepreneurs with accessible capital is more important than ever. Last fall Nancy Wyeth returned as our loan director and we made a number of new loans to locals starting and growing new businesses. As COVID-19 began disrupting the economy, we’ve been working hard to ensure our loans continue to help those who need it most. 

We are pausing applications to our core loan program to focus on launching our Community Support Fund (see below). We anticipate an increased demand for accessible, community-sourced loans as restrictions ease and the community rebuilds. Stay tuned for its reopening and consider supporting the Community Support Fund at this time.

Community Support Fund 

Yesterday we launched Phase 1 of the Community Support Fund, our campaign to help small enterprises in the Capital Regional District impacted by COVID-19. Our goal in Phase 1 is to raise $50,000 and distribute these funds to an initial round of applicants who need help bridging the gap to recovery.

Training Programs

EY+ Winter Cohort

After a successful switch to online learning (including small group expert coaching) the Winter 2020 EY+ Cohort gathered online to present their business plans. Congrats to the cohort and thank you to our volunteer coaches! Thank you to the Citi Foundation for making this opportunity possible.

Entrepreneur Training for Newcomers

Our Entrepreneur Training program for newcomers offered in partnership with VIRCS pivoted to virtual delivery and classes continue through the spring. Thank you to our funders, the City of Victoria, for making this possible. 

Read more