New microloan program aims to help businesses in need

Program aims to help Thompson Okanagan tourism businesses navigate challenging times 

A new microloan program aims to provide some much-needed assistance to Thompson Okanagan tourism businesses. 

The Thompson Okanagan Tourism Micro Loan Program is open to all tourism businesses in the region, and aims to get money to businesses that are facing unforeseen financial issues related to COVID-19. 

“These are loans that might be a little bit more risky, so the bank may turn them down” said Thompson Okanagan Tourism Association (TOTA) vice president Ellen Walker-Matthews, adding that it’s already proving to be a popular program.

“There’s lots of applications in already and it was only really announced in the past week.” 

Micro loans start from $200 and go up to $25,000 and will be subject to six to 12.5 per cent interest, with a 60-month payment plan. 

The loans are available to businesses that take part in the Tourism Resiliency Program. Launched in April by TOTA and the region’s Community Futures Offices (federal organizations mandated to support small businesses), the program links participants with an advisor through one-on-one phone or video meetings. 

The advisor develops a support program and provides key updates to programs and services of assistance.

There is no cost to participate in the program. 

Walker-Matthews said around 760 Thompson Okanagan businesses are participating so far. 

She said the initiative was created to help small businesses navigate these trying times and gain access to the host of provincial and federal programs available to support their businesses. 

She added the program has helped participants deal with the “overwhelming” nature of the pandemic.  

To find out more about the Tourism Resiliency Program and the micro loan program email [email protected] to set up an appointment with an advisor.