Andrew Verge, owner and operator of Spud Brothers Food Services, said he didn’t have many assets or own a home but he thought he had a great idea for his startup.
Valley First, a division of First West Credit Union in Penticton, British Columbia, thought so too and approved a micro loan for Verge through the cooperative’s participation in the Remarkable Micro-Loan program.
Launched by Central 1 Credit Union in Toronto, Ontario, 45 credit unions are involved in the program targeted at young adults ages 18 to 29 with little to no assets or credit history. Loan applicants submit their business ideas and the best ones are rewarded with a micro loan up to $5,000.
Roger Houle, assistant vice president of commercial banking at Valley First said Spud Brothers is a great example of how credit unions and entrepreneurs can succeed together.
“We are community driven and we are focused on ensuring that the small businesses in our communities succeed,” Houle said in a statement. “We measure our success on their success. It’s exciting to get involved with enthusiastic, well-prepared, local entrepreneurs and help them realize their business opportunities.”
According to Statistics Canada, 46% of B.C. businesses are considered small and have accounted for 47% of all jobs created on average from 2001 to 2010. However, 49% of small businesses also end up closing within the first five years of opening.
Verge said if it weren’t for Valley First and the micro loan, he’s not sure if he would still be in business.
“I have always liked the idea of doing something that no one else was doing, delivering food right there to the customer, at the beach, at the park, or at the arena,” Verge said in the credit union’s statement. “The micro-loan program, through Valley First, has provided the opportunity to do that.”