Social Enterprise Loan Guarantee Program

Are you a member of the social enterprise sector looking to grow or expand?

If so, we can help.

Delivered through CUA, the Social Enterprise Loan Guarantee Program can provide financing up to $50,000 in the form of term loans, working capital and lines of credit.

Up to a 100% guarantee may be available to those that qualify under this special financing stream.

Are you eligible?

Social enterprises can take the form of non-profits, co-operatives and for profit businesses designed to meet community needs. Organizations prodviding charitable services are not eligible.

About Social Enterprises

Social enterprises are businesses whose primary purpose is the common good. They combine the passion of a social mission with the discipline, innovation and determintaion of the marketplace to advance their social, and/or environmental agendas.

Examples may be local daycares,  transportation for seniors or persons with disabilities, recycling depots, homecare/and or healthcare services, etc. 


Who can apply for a Social Enterprise Loan? Expand/Collapse

Any enterprise that is registered and based in Nova Scotia is eligible, including both start-ups and those looking to grow or expand. An enterprise can take the form of a not-for-profit, a co-operative or a mission-based private business.

What is a mission-based business? Expand/Collapse

A mission-based business is a business whose primary purpose is the common good. It aims to have a positive impact on a social or environmental issue while also staying committed to product development, profit, social responsibility and sustainability.

How much can I borrow? Expand/Collapse

The maximum that can be borrowed is $50,000.

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

This program covers term loans, working capital or lines of credit.

Are there any projects excluded in this program? Expand/Collapse

Funds from this program cannot be used for business planning, debt restructuring or to cover losses.

What will CUA require from me? Expand/Collapse

CUA will require a business plan that shows the viability of your idea and which demonstrates community impact by meeting a community need or maximizing a community opportunity. 

We will also require information regarding your net worth, credit history and other documentation that is 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 project 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 100% of the loan value, up to $50,000.

What are the terms of the loan? Expand/Collapse

The terms and conditions of the loan, along with the interest rate, will be negotiated between you and CUA. The maximum term under this program is 10 years.

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

There is a 1% administration fee on the total value of the laon. This 1% is a guarantee fee that is payable by CUA to the Provincial Department of Finance.

Are personal loans eligible? Expand/Collapse

No, this program only applies to enterprises which include not-for-profits, co-operatives or mission-based private businesses.

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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Learn more

Contact CUA at 902.492.6500 or to learn more about the Social Enterprise Loan Guarantee Program.