Small Business Loan Guarantee Program

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Helping small businesses with big ideas is why the Small Business Loan Guarantee Program was created.

It is a unique financing program designed to empower small businesses in Nova Scotia to succeed. 

CUA can provide financing up to $500,000 in the form of term loans, working capital and lines of credit. No other financing programs provide access to working capital or lines of credit to individuals who would like to start or purchase a small business and/or grow and expand an existing business. 

Each application is evaluated on a case-by-case basis and is based on your business plan, viability and character. The program is designed to empower Nova Scotia businesses to succeed with ongoing support, including access to a wide network of mentors for business coaching. That makes this program accessible and supportive for Nova Scotia small businesses.

Financing Details:

Loans may be granted for a term of up to of 10 years. The maximum guarantee supplied by the Province of Nova Scotia will be 90% of the value of all term loans. The guarantee will remain at 75% on lines of credit but a 90% guarantee may be available to those that qualify under our special financing streams.

All types of businesses are eligible except residential and commercial real estate, beverage rooms and taverns, or any venture of a questionable ethical or legal nature. 

Special financing streams for immigrant entrepreneurs and social enterprises as well as the forestry and high-risk sectors are also available. 

How to apply:

Book an appointment with a member of our CUA Commercial Team today. Call us at 902-492-6500 or email us at


Who can apply for a small business loan? Expand/Collapse

Residents of Nova Scotia who wish to start a small business and companies or co-operatives in the province who intend to grow their business.

What will CUA require from me? Expand/Collapse

CUA will require a business plan that shows the viability of your idea. We will also require information regarding your net worth, credit history and other documents that are normally required when applying for a loan.

Does my past credit history count? Expand/Collapse

Credit history is an important piece of your identity. All financial institutions check credit histories when you apply for credit of any kind. The decision to grant a loan in this program will also involve other factors, so those with a less than perfect credit history are still eligible to apply.

Will I need to give personal security or guarantees to CUA? Expand/Collapse

Yes. CUA will evaluate your loan request by following regular credit lending criteria. This will include an assessment of your personal net worth. If your application does not fit normal lending criteria, but CUA feels your business has potential for success, CUA can apply for a loan guarantee to offset their risk. The maximum amount of the loan guarantee in most cases will be 90 per cent of the loan value, up to $500,000.

How much can I borrow? Expand/Collapse

The maximum that can be borrowed is $500,000.

What kind of financing does this program cover? Expand/Collapse

The program can cover loans for working capital or lines of credit.

What type of business is eligible? Expand/Collapse

All types of business are eligible, except residential and commercial real estate, beverage rooms and taverns. Any venture of a questionable ethical or legal nature is ineligible. Each application is evaluated on a case by case basis and on the strength of the business plan and viability.

What are the terms of the loan? Expand/Collapse

The terms and conditions of the loan will be negotiated between you and CUA. The maximum term under this program is ten years.

What is the interest rate? Expand/Collapse

The interest rate is negotiated between you and CUA.

Is there a fee to access this program? Expand/Collapse

There is a one per cent administration fee on the total value of the loan. This one per cent is a guarantee fee that is payable by CUA to the Provincial Department of Finance.

Are personal loans eligible? Expand/Collapse

No. The program only applies to business ventures.

Are there any other requirements under this program? Expand/Collapse

If there are any weaknesses in your business plan, CUA may request that you have a business mentor as a condition of the loan. Our development agency, the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council, will work with you to find a suitable mentor.

Is there support available if I need help putting my business plan and application together? Expand/Collapse

Yes. If you are a co-operative, the Nova Scotia Co-operative Council, a development agency, has a technical assistance division that can assist you with your business plan, incorporation, business analysis etc.

For support with your business, CEED, the Centre for Entrepreneurship Education and Development is an excellent resource. You can also visit CUA's Business Resource Centre.

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