Who is eligible for your loans?
- Canadian citizen, permanent resident or convention refugee/protected person, at least 18 years old, legally able to work in Canada and resident of the Greater Toronto Area or Hamilton.
- Demonstrate financial need or inability to get a loan from a bank (We will assess this on an individual basis, considering your income, debt and other factors.)
- Be up-to-date with, and not owing taxes to Canada Revenue Agency or child support to the Family Responsibility Office, or provide proof of ongoing payments for at least three consecutive months
- Not be in a consumer proposal or bankruptcy, or discharged for less than six months
How much can I borrow?
For a small business loan, you can borrow up to a maximum of $5,000. If you need additional funding after paying off the first loan in good standing, you can apply for up to $10,000.
For a foreign credential recognition loan, you can borrow up to $15,000 for career-related expenses.
Are there other fees?
There is a one-time administrative fee of 5% added to business loans at the time of disbursal. All clients will need to open an Alterna Savings account to receive the funds, which also has a small fee to open ($15), similar to most bank accounts.
You may be charged additional fees for paying your loan late.
How much is your interest?
Our interest rates are prime plus 1.25% for business loans and prime plus 1.9% for foreign credential recognition loans. (Prime is the standard rate which banks charge, which can change and affect the overall interest rate.)
Do you offer grants?
No, however you may find information on grants at https://www.canada.ca/en/government/grants-funding.
How long do I have to pay back the loan?
For a business loan, you have up to three years to repay.
For a foreign credential recognition loan, you have up to four years to repay.
Our loans are open, which means you can pay them back early without additional fees or interest. Interest will be calculated up to the time you decide to pay off the loan if it’s before the given term.
What documents do you require?
For business loans:
- Proof of income, e.g. copy of pay stub
- Credit report and score from Equifax or TransUnion
- Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency
- Business Plan and Cash Flow Projections
- Business registration, if registered
- Two pieces of valid photo ID (e.g. Driver’s Licence, Passport or Immigration Documents)
- Proof of residence, .e.g. utility bill, bank statement etc.
*Please contact us if you have difficulty submitting any of the above documents.
If you don’t have a complete business plan, we provide business coaching for eligible applicants to help you refine your business plan.
For foreign credential recognition loans:
- Credit report and score from Equifax*
- Notice of Assessment from Canada Revenue Agency*
- Copies of all your post-secondary credentials (degree, diploma and/or certificates)
- Proof of acceptance for the training, courses or certification program to be taken
- Two pieces of valid photo ID, e.g. Driver’s License, PR Card (front and back) or Notice of Decision
- Proof of residence, e.g. utility bill, lease agreement or bank statement
- Proof of income, e.g. pay stubs, bank statements etc.
*If you arrived in Canada recently and have no credit history or Notice of Assessment, we can still assist you. Please contact us if you are not sure.
What types of businesses do you fund?
We strive to support a wide variety of business ideas, however, there are a few instances where we will not be able to approve your application.
Any business deemed to be harmful in any way will be ineligible. This includes (but is not limited to) businesses that:
- Engage in illegal activities
- Violate The Canadian Human Rights Act and/or The Ontario Human Rights Code
- Are contrary ACCESS Community Capital Fund’s values and reputation
- Are prohibited by our financial partners
As our aim is to help small entrepreneurs, we don’t fund operations owned by large companies, such as franchises and multi-level-marketing businesses.
If you’d like to confirm if your business will be accepted before you apply, please call us to discuss your idea or plan.
Which professions qualify for foreign credential recognition loans?
We assist with both regulated (e.g. healthcare) and unregulated professions (e.g. finance). We'll need to see that your qualifications were obtained outside of Canada and that the training or certification you want to take is not eligible or already covered by government programs such as OSAP.
We help people launch new careers too! This is your chance to work towards your dream job or career. We only ask that you’ve researched the job market and are confident that you’ll be successfully employed once you finish your certification or licensing.
How can an ACCESS loan improve my credit?
When you’re approved for an ACCESS loan, you’ll open an account with our financial partner Alterna Savings. They’ll perform a credit check and will report your loan repayment to Equifax. As long as you pay your loan on time according to the terms, you’ll start building a positive credit rating.
Do I need to come in person to submit my application?
The loan application process can be completed wherever you are. However, once you’ve been approved for a loan you will need to visit our financial partner, Alterna Savings at 800 Bay Street to finalize your loan.
We will arrange the appointment for you, based on your availability during weekdays.
After your loan account is set up you can choose to go to any Alterna location that’s convenient for you or do your transactions online, including the loan repayment.