The West Kootenay Boundary Community Investment Cooperative (WKBCIC) recently announced a six-month pilot project of a micro-loan fund to assist small and medium sized enterprises. WKBCIC has earmarked $30,000 to be made available for individual micro-loans ranging from $1,000 to $3,500.
Rounding out the Micro-loan Fund Pilot Project, the WKBCIC will collaborate with KAST (Kootenay Association for Science and Technology) by filling the gap of providing a micro-loan opportunity to clients of the new Digital Economy: Rapid Response & Resiliency (DER3) program being administered by KAST in partnership with Innovate BC and Western Economic Diversification.
“Today’s launch of the Micro-loan Fund Pilot Project and the collaboration with KAST will help small and medium-sized businesses compete during these unprecedented times,” said Erika Krest of the West Kootenay Boundary Community Investment Co-op.
“This not only enables us to bridge the gap by providing loan opportunities to help round out the DER3 program administered by KAST, but we are also pleased to know that we are helping to grow or expand businesses’ online presence, enabling them to become more efficient, competitive and resilient in their own economic recovery efforts.”
“It has been a privilege for KAST to provide support to Kootenay businesses dealing with challenges brought about by COVID-19,” said Sean Smillie, Executive Director of KAST. “Partnering with the WKBCIC not only adds a vital funding opportunity into the DER3 process for our clients, but further showcases how local support and collaboration will keep the West Kootenays thriving.”
The DER3 is a no cost or obligation program designed to help small to medium sized businesses in the Kootenays adapt to COVID-19 and enter or expand into the digital economy. The DER3 program currently provides all components to help businesses and entrepreneurs, except for the funds needed by a business to hire a digital service provider (if one is needed) to perform the work outlined by the DER3 team. The WKBCIC will provide micro-loans to businesses and entrepreneurs to bridge this gap.
Businesses in the West Kootenay region who want to learn more about the DER3 program should visit www.kast.com/der3/. DER3 clients will be able to apply to the fund as part of the DER3 program.
The WKBCIC is a for-profit co-operative association registered in British Columbia. WKBCIC is member-owned, locally controlled and governed by a volunteer board of directors. The co-op finances businesses located in the West Kootenay Boundary regions and the surrounding communities of Grand Forks-Boundary, Trail, Rossland, Nelson, Castlegar, Slocan, and Arrow and Upper Kootenay Lakes.