About the Program
Small businesses are an important part of Canada's economy, but they face unique challenges when they look for financing.
The Canada Small Business Financing Program helps you with your financing needs. Under the program, the Government of Canada makes it easier for small businesses to get loans from financial institutions by sharing the risk with lenders.
The program's main objectives are:
- to help new businesses get started and established firms make improvements and expand
- to improve access to loans that would not otherwise be available to small businesses
- to stimulate economic growth and create jobs for Canadians
The program assisted more than 120,000 businesses since 1999 with loans totalling about $1 billion each year.
Who is eligible?
Small businesses or start-ups operating for profit in Canada, with gross annual revenues of $5 million or less.
Not eligible under this program are farming businesses (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada has a similar program for the farming industry — for information, visit www.agr.gc.ca), not-for-profit organizations, or charitable and religious organizations.
How much financing is available?
Up to a maximum of $500,000 for any one borrower, of which no more than $350,000 can be used for purchasing leasehold improvements or improving leased property and purchasing or improving new or used equipment.
Financial institutions deliver the program. The decision to grant a loan rests entirely with the financial institution.
Discuss your business needs with a financial officer at any bank, caisse populaire, or credit union in Canada. The financial officer will review your business proposal and make a decision on your loan application. Once the decision is made to offer financing under the program, the financial institution will register the loan with Industry Canada. (Find a lender near you)
What can loans be used for under this program?
Loans can be used for financing up to 90% of the cost of:
- purchasing or improving land, real property or immovables
- purchasing new or existing leasehold improvements
- purchasing or improving new or used equipment
For example, you can use a loan to finance:
- buildings and land
- commercial vehicles
- hotel or restaurant equipment
- computer or telecommunications equipment and software
- production equipment
- leasehold improvements for a franchise
You cannot use a loan to finance items such as:
- working capital
- franchise fees
- research and development
What are the costs?
The interest rate is determined by your financial institution. The interest rate may be variable or fixed:
- Variable rate: The maximum chargeable is the lender's prime lending rate plus 3%.
- Fixed rate: The maximum chargeable is the lender's single family residential mortgage rate plus 3%.
A registration fee of 2% of the total amount loaned under the program must also be paid by the borrower to the lender. It can be financed as part of the loan.
The registration fee and a portion of the interest are submitted to Industry Canada by the lender to help offset the costs of the program for the government.
What are the terms of the financing?
Lenders are required to take security in the assets financed. Lenders also have the option to take an additional unsecured personal guarantee, which cannot exceed 25% of the total amount loaned.
For more information, please contact your financial institution.
This program is administered by:
Small Business Financing Directorate
Telephone: 613-954-5540 (local call)
Telephone: 1-866-959-1699 (toll-free)
Email: Canada Small Business Financing Program
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