Business Loan Program
One of the most successful means that Community Futures (CF) have in fostering entrepreneurship in BC is their ability to provide business loans to entrepreneurs who have had trouble accessing capital from traditional lenders.
In addition to providing individualized business advisory services, our Community Futures operation can lend up to $150,000 to new and existing businesses, or larger amounts partnering with other Community Futures offices or your own financial institution, for:
- capital purchases,
- operating capital,
- start-up costs,
- top-up financing, and
Loans received from a Community Futures are fully repayable and are offered at a competitive interest rate. In over ten years of lending to entrepreneurs in British Columbia, the CF’S, on average, have recorded an unprecedented financial institution repayment rate of 96%.
"The guidance and experience they provided were invaluable."
"I can't recommend Community Futures enough! The guidance and experience they provided were invaluable. From helping me develop a business plan, to marketing, managing, and so much more...they were there to help every step of the way. They even helped me secure a small start-up loan through "Entrepreneurs with Disabilities"!
"But I think that the most important tool that they offer is belief...they give you the confidence to believe in yourself! Having someone in your corner to guide you over the hurdles and bolstering your confidence is paramount in starting a business. They are your team! They become invested in your dream.
"Teresa, Nicole and Sharon...thank you for your support and expertise! I literally couldn't have done this without you!"
Kevin Hamel, 5-star Google Review
The Business Loan Application Process
Community Futures organizations provide small businesses with access to capital that might not otherwise be available from other financial institutions. Community Futures lending practices are directed by the Community Futures Program through PacifiCan (Pacific Economic Development Canada).
Please note, we can only provide financing for businesses within our region (Abbotsford, Bridal Falls, Chilliwack – District of, Chilliwack Lake, Columbia Valley, Greendale, Popkum, Rosedale, Sardis, Yarrow).
How Do I Apply for a CFSF Business Loan?
To apply for CFSF financing, please download a Business Loan Application Form and e-mail a signed copy to Nicole.Read@southfraser.com or drop off a signed application at our Chilliwack office. If you have any questions, please call Nicole at 604-392-5133.
Once we have received a completed application, we will contact you to provide further information regarding the application process.
What Are The Costs and How Long Does The Process Take, etc?
We will pre-screen a loan application at no charge. A 1% application fee with a minimum fee of $75 will be administered on approval of loan.
How long does it take?
Lending money takes time. How long depends on a number of factors, including the business plan development process, verifying assets, the amount and source of the funds, the time to complete legal work, and the time that it takes you to provide the necessary information and sign the documentation. Loans may take between 3 to 7 weeks once all the information has been collected.
In order for CFSF to remain transparent to the client they have the right to appeal loan decisions to the next level of our organization as follows:
- For loans within the General Manager’s limit, the appeal is made to the Lending Committee.
- For loans within the Lending Committee’s limit, the appeal is made to the Board.
- For loans approved by the Board, the appeal is made to the CFBC Independent Service Review Panel.
All appeals must be made in writing to the General Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Does Community Futures Look For in a Business Loan Application?
The 5 C’s of Lending
When your local Community Futures staff and volunteer board assess the merits of your loan application, they take into account our own version of the classic banking industry guideline “The Five C’s of Lending.”
As we are developmental lenders – and because community economic development is our number one priority – we are able to interpret and prioritize lending criteria a bit differently than traditional banks.
Here’s some insight into the criteria we will use when we look at your loan application:
Character is a combination of your credit history, your training and work history, and any proven experience you have at running a business. Most banks look primarily at how the loan will be secured. While this is also important to us, we value your personal experience and track record too. We’ll also want to know about the industry skills and management experience of your leadership team, because even the best business ideas don’t succeed without strong management. It’s all part of ensuring that you are set up for success in business – not just loan repayment!
Capacity refers to your ability to take on and repay debt based on the earning potential and cash flow of the business. We look at your business plan very carefully to determine the strength and marketability of your idea as well as the viability of the business. It is therefore very important that you take the time to carefully research and thoroughly test your business concept. We also want to make sure there will be adequate cash flow, to ensure that you can realistically afford the loan. If you are asking for a loan for an existing business, we’ll look carefully at your historical financial statements. If you are starting a new business, we’ll review projected financial statements as well as data like industry averages.
When assessing a loan request, we take great care to understand the market and conditions in which you are planning to operate your business. Is the industry mature, or emerging? What are the current political, environmental, social, and technological issues affecting the industry? To gain insight, we look at data from industry associations and government and regulatory bodies, as well as your own marketing plan research. And, of course, we factor in the ability of your business to help drive rural economic diversification – adding recognition for big potential impacts.
Capital includes your personal and corporate net worth, the “sweat” and real equity you have invested in the business and your ability to access other financial reserves. We want to make sure you have adequate capital to grow your business and to weather any unexpected emergencies or setbacks. Having insufficient capital is a common mistake for too many businesses, and we want to ensure it doesn’t happen to you.
Because Community Futures organizations are developmental lenders, we place a greater focus on the management team, business capacity, market conditions, and cash flow of a business. However, we do have a responsibility to lend money responsibly, and therefore must take adequate security. We will be as creative as we can in assessing your collateral, but we are aiming for a 1:1 security to loan principal ratio.
Your chances of obtaining a loan depend upon how you are assessed in each of these areas. By becoming familiar with these 5 criteria, you can ensure that your business plan addresses all the essential points, and that you are prepared to answer any questions the review board may have. Be ready to show us the creativity, energy and drive behind your business idea – and we’ll do our best to help.
MICRO Loan Program
Maybe you are looking to develop new products, expand into new markets or give your store a facelift. Maybe you’re just getting your business off the ground.
With a good plan and enough capital, you can make your business dreams a reality starting with our Micro Loan Program.
Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program
Please visit the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities website for more information.
The Entrepreneurs with Disabilities website is a resource for people with disabilities who may be exploring the option of self-employment and need access to some basic tools and information on the initial steps for starting a small business.
The site has web accessibility features for people with disabilities and provides straightforward information on self-employment, creating a business plan, and how to apply for an EDP loan.