Community Support Fund

We’ve launched phase 1 of the Community Support Fund.

Help local businesses bridge the gap to recovery.

The Community Support Fund is Community Micro Lending’s initiative to help small enterprises in the Capital Regional District impacted by COVID-19.

We launched the fund knowing that not all business owners or self-employed people can access loans from banks and credit unions. That while existing support is helping, some of our community’s smallest businesses are still falling through the cracks. That in these uncertain times, traditional debt is not the answer when so many questions about the future remain.

The Community Support Fund offers financial relief in the form of small, community-sourced no fee, no interest loans to enterprises based in the Capital Regional District. These are not traditional loans. They will not impact your credit. They are unsecured. Any funds repaid will be redeployed to help local individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and future crises.

Donate Now

Your donation is an investment in our community’s future.

“The people who own, operate and are employed by small independent businesses are our friends and family. Support is the right thing to do to help them find their way forward to survive and thrive.” – Stephen Pearce

Amount Raised

  • Amount Raised
  • Goal

Thank you to our major donors:

  • Lisa Helps, Mayor of Victoria – $1000
  • Stephen Pearce, President of the Board Think Local First – $1000
  • Anonymous $1000

Apply for help

This Community Support Fund provides access to interest free, no fee loans to entrepreneurs based in the Capital Regional District impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

What types and amounts of funding are available?

This Community Support Fund will offer amounts from $250 – $2500 with $0 fees and 0% interest across three streams of support:

  • Emergency Support – to help existing enterprises bridge the gap to recovery through access to working capital

  • Adaptation Support – to help enterprises operate under pandemic-conditions

  • Recovery Support – to help enterprises re-open once pandemic conditions are lifted or significantly reduced

Loan terms

We understand that business owners are reluctant to take on debt: this is not a traditional loan. Community Support Fund loans are offered without security, no fee and at 0% interest. Repayment will start with an invitation to begin repaying one year after receiving the loan.  Any funds that are repaid will be re-lent with the same terms to other entrepreneurs in the community impacted by the pandemic. Community Micro Lending is a non-profit lender that does not report to credit bureaus so this flexibility does not impact your credit.

Who is eligible?

The Community Support Fund will consider applications from all legal structures with revenue generating activities, including:

  • sole proprietors

  • incorporated businesses

  • partnerships

  • cooperatives

  • non-profit social enterprises

You must be able to demonstrate you were operating prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Enterprises must be primarily run by Canadian citizens and/or permanent residents and based in the Capital Regional District.

At this time we can consider applications for between $250.00 – $2,500.00.

Frequently Asked Questions for Borrowers

I'm not based in the CRD, can I apply?

At this time no, this fund is for enterprises based in the Capital Regional District on Southern Vancouver Island, B.C.

I want to launch a new business, can I apply to this fund?

This fund is for existing enterprises that were operating before the pandemic started impacted by COVID19. If you are looking to start a business, please apply to our standard loan program.

If the money is being donated, why do borrowers have to pay it back?

We are inviting any borrower who receives money from this fund to begin paying back what they can a year after they’ve received the funds. This is entirely to allow us to re-lend that money to local individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and future crises.

Frequently Asked Questions for Donors

Will I get my money back?

Unlike our standard loans, your contribution to this fund is a donation and you will not get your money back. Repaid funds will be re-lent to other entrepreneurs impacted by the pandemic.

Can I get a charitable receipt?

No, we are not a charitable organization. We are looking for a charitable partner to offer this benefit.

Does the Community Support Fund charge a fee to borrowers?

No, funds from the Community Support Fund are provided at 0% interest and without fees.

Frequently Asked Questions for Volunteers

How can I help?

Community Micro Lending is a volunteer-run organization. We are always happy to talk to people interested in volunteering to help our operations and to support our clients. Please apply to be a volunteer on our volunteer page.