Province supports social enterprises
April 11, 2012
- Published on
April 11, 2012
Social enterprises across the province will now have access to small-business loans, through the provincially funded Credit Union Small Business Loan Program. Social enterprises operate as non-profits with the purpose of addressing social, economic or environmental concerns.
The province is providing a $2-million loan guarantee for the program and is available to any qualified social enterprise. It is a two-year pilot program and will provide a loan guarantee of up to $150,000 for social enterprises. The program will be offered through the network of Nova Scotia Credit Unions and will be administered by the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council.
"The changes make it easier for social enterprises to start up, grow and increase their contribution to Nova Scotia," said Percy Paris, Minister of Economic and Rural Development and Tourism, at Halifax based Stone Hearth Bistro.
"This program will help strengthen social enterprises and in turn help build stronger communities," said Paris. "Social enterprises play an important role in Nova Scotia's economic prosperity and are a priority of jobsHere. They help provide individuals with the right skills for good jobs and grow the economy through innovation."
"Social enterprises play a vibrant and creative role in addressing the challenges faced by our local communities," said Dianne Kelderman, president and CEO, Nova Scotia Co-operative Council. "We are delighted to partner with the province, and to be able to assist these businesses across the province. This program will make it easier for them to start up, grow and increase their contribution to Nova Scotia."
The program builds on Nova Scotia's rich tradition of social enterprise dating back to the early co-op and credit union movements. The belief in community self-reliance and co-operation that inspired Moses Coady's Antigonish Movement is today inspiring social enterprises across the province, such as Wolfville-based, Just Us Coffee and Cape Breton-based New Dawn Enterprises and the Pictou County Women's Centre.
"We often experience difficulty gaining access to traditional small-business loans," said Arlene MacDonald, the centre's executive director. "It's important for the province to support social enterprises and to recognize the value we contribute to our communities."
In addition to the loan guarantee, the province is providing $100,000 per year for training and marketing of the program. This is the first step in the social enterprise strategy, a key part of jobsHere.