Indigeneous Women's Entrepreneurship Program

Indigenous Women’s Entrepreneurship Program

Waubetek offers the following programs to Indigenous women entrepreneurs looking to start up or expand their business in Waubetek’s service area of North-Eastern Ontario:

Indigenous Women Entrepreneur Micro-Loan Fund

The maximum program assistance is $20,000. The loan is made up of 50% repayable and 45% non-repayable contributions. 5% cash equity is required from the applicant. Each applicant must submit an application, business plan, and a first year monthly cashflow statement.


  • Must be an Indigenous (First Nations and Inuit) woman (documentation required to verify);
  • Must be eighteen (18) years or over;
  • Must have a majority (51%) equity stake in the ownership of the business;
  • Must have the necessary skill set for the business and an active role in strategic decision making and being involved in elements related to the establishment of priorities for the business;
  • Must have integral involvement in the business’ ongoing operations;
  • Must have 5% cash equity to contribute to the business project

For-profit organizations such as sole proprietorship, partnerships, social enterprises, incorporated companies, corporations, or co-operatives are eligible where Indigenous women have 51% ownership.

Ineligible applications include non-for-profit organizations and Government or municipal entities.

Note: Husband and wife partnerships are considered 50% - 50% ownership regardless of legal structure. Therefore, in these guidelines, are not considered eligible.

Eligible costs:

  • Cost of external labour to complete project;
  • Capital costs: purchase of machinery, equipment, leasehold improvements and renovations;
  • Operating and working capital costs: inventory, pre-paid startup costs, insurance, etc.;
  • Marketing and promotional material costs; and
  • Other costs necessary to support the purpose of funding

Advisory expenses are also eligible and could include:

  • Fees for business advisory services;
  • Coaching, mentoring or networking events, workshops or conference fees;
  • Legal/accounting/technical supports; and
  • Fees associated with participation in business training

Ineligible costs:

Ineligible costs include but are not limited to:

  • Renovations to personal living space unless these can be strongly demonstrated as necessary for the business;
  • Passive real estate transactions (land acquisitions) that do not create employment;
  • Vehicle purchases which will be primarily utilized for personal use;
  • Refinancing of existing debt;
  • General ongoing operation costs that should be financed through operations;
  • Acquisitions without independent financial statements and a certified business valuation;
  • Non-arm’s length transactions;
  • The purchase of goods or services where a commitment has been made prior to approval of loan without AFI approval in advance;
  • The purchase of any assets for more than the fair market value; and
  • The costs of amortization and goodwill

 Additional info:

  • Loan repayments may be deferred for one year;
  • Loan security is a promissory note and a general assignment of inventory and/or assets where available;
  • Loan interest rate is the prime rate plus a percentage up to 4% based on risk; and
  • Loan must be repaid in 3 to 5 years


 Women Entrepreneurship Loan Fund

The maximum program assistance is $50,000. Total financing package must not exceed $100,000. 5% cash equity is required from the applicant. There is no forgivable portion or grant under this fund.


  • Must be an Indigenous (First Nations and Inuit) woman (documentation required);
  • Must be 50% owned by Indigenous (First Nations and Inuit) women;
  • Must provide a business plan, including cash flow forecasts for a minimum of two years; and
  • Must have 5% cash equity or in-kind contributed equity

Eligible costs:

  • Capital assets (including machinery/equipment, leasehold/property improvements);
  • Office and equipment rental;
  • Salaries and benefits (excluding owner’s salary);
  • IT/Software license purchase;
  • Professional services;
  • Inventory/supplies;
  • Intellectual property;
  • Working capital (e.g. payroll, lease payments, accounts management, rent, overhead costs);
  • Digital (including website/e-commerce development);
  • Marketing/advertising/business promotion;
  • Employee training;
  • Short-term receivable financing (i.e. financing to service a contract); and
  • Business start-up costs (e.g. legal fees, business incorporation fees, business plan preparation, etc.)

Additional info:

  • Loan must be repaid in 5 years;
  • Loan interest rate is the prime rate plus a percentage up to 4% based on risk; and
  • Collateral for the loan will be required


Mentorship Program

The program is a one-on-one mentorship and grant program to help Indigenous women access the resources needed to start their business. Each mentee will be given a grant up to $3,000 over 6 months. Each mentor will be given an honorarium of $1,000 over 6 months.


  • Must be an Indigenous (First Nations and Inuit) woman (documentation required);
  • Must be Indigenous women-led and controlled businesses;
  • Must be in the pre-launch or early start of development; and
  • Must be a for-profit or social enterprise

Eligible costs:

Eligible grant expenditures are for business expenses only. These include but are not limited to:

  • Purchase of office and administrative expenses;
  • Business insurance;
  • Incorporation costs;
  • Professional fees (legal, accounting, etc.);
  • Inventory purchases;
  • Rent expenses;
  • Marketing and advertising expenses;
  • Leasing or purchase of small equipment; and
  • Advisory services/expenses

Give us a call at 1-705-285-4275 or email for more information.