On April 12, Canada’s first peer-to-peer micro-lending chapter will launch in the Okanagan.
From 7 to 9 p.m. at the Bean Scene in downtown Vernon, Community Micro Lending Okanagan will hold its first start-up night. Aspiring entrepreneurs, lenders and interested community members are invited for an evening of brainstorming, budgeting and sharing the realities of the small business life.
“We aim to create a community of aspiring entrepreneurs and business people as well as members of the community interested in supporting small business,” said Linda McGrew, a chapter leader and a business professor at Okanagan College.
Also helping bring the the concept of Victoria’s Community Micro Lending Society to the Okanagan is Landon Orr, a fourth year Okanagan College business student.
“It’s a really exciting way for the community to come together to promote a stronger, more sustainable local economy,” said Orr.
Lisa Helps, founding executive director of Community Micro Lending in Victoria, is pleased to see the initiative growing in B.C.
“We created this organization with the plan of other communities picking up the model, shaping it to their local circumstances and running with it,” she said.
Through an online platform, Community Micro Lending makes loans to people who have a good idea and the ability to carry it out, but who don’t qualify for credit at a bank.
And CML offers a way for potential lenders to participate online at http://communitymicrolending.ca/cml-lend. People read about a business and can make a loan instantly online.
“The borrower repays CML, the society repays the lender and the local economy flourishes,” said McGrew.
“CML Okanagan will be actively looking for its borrowers, lenders and mentors over the next few months. It will focus on Vernon first and grow into neighbouring communities with time.”