Vancity to establish micro-credit investment program to help kick-start small businesses

Vancity plans to use funds from its shared growth term deposits to help local entrepreneurs who are looking for micro-credit loans.

Micro-loans garnered international attention after Bangladeshi banker and economist Muhammad Yunus received the Nobel Peace Prize for applying the concept more than 30 years ago.

New immigrants, refugees, people with disabilities, aboriginal people and residents from the Downtown Eastside can apply for the Vancity micro-credit loans, which will range from $1,000 to $5,000. Program participants can use the loans to buy equipment and tools, manufacturing supplies or inventory to launch home-based businesses. They will also participate in Vancity's peer lending program, a group-based community micro-credit initiative in which a small group of borrowers will support each other to succeed in their funded initiatives.

Vancity's RRSP-eligible shared growth funds invest in projects and programs with a high social or environmental value.