Financial Aid

It is Groundswell’s mandate to keep our programs accessible and inclusive and reduce the risk of starting and growing a business. As a Groundswell student or alumni, you can access scholarships and microfinancing which can be used together to make tuition payments simple and easy, as well as seed funding to launch and grow your small business.

Special thanks to our funders and donors for your support in making Groundswell more accessible!

Scholarships

Scholarships are available for BIPOC, trans people, people with disabilities, and low-income inner city residents for all three of our social entrepreneurship programs: Explore, Build, and Test Market . As a show of commitment and to have some skin in the game, no scholarship will cover 100% of program tuition. The remaining tuition is eligible for microfinancing through our partnership with Vancity, see more info on that below.

Indicate your interest for a scholarship when you apply for any Groundswell program . Scholarships are dispersed according to your level of need and what impact the program can have for you, plus the amount of scholarship funding available.

Microfinancing

Money is a big barrier to many of us who want to explore the route to self employment, small business ownership, or founding a non-profit or other community organization.  We are lucky enough to have a credit union in town who understands that having a lack of access to funds simply means that first step can be our of reach.  Thank you Vancity for your continued support of Groundswell and our community!

These microloans are especially for entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs with great ideas and limited resources, people who are new to Canada, and people who are looking to repair their credit history.

Tuition

As an applicant to Groundswell programs you can access no fee, low interest (prime + 3%) microfinancing to cover your tuition fees for Groundswell's Explore, Build, or Test Market programs. 

Startup Capital

After completing the Build or Test Market program, Groundswell alumni can access up to $50,000 for start-up costs, with the same no fee, low interest terms.

How does it work?

New program participants:

  1. Let us know you are interested in financing for either Groundswell EXPLORE, BUILD or TEST MARKET tuition when you apply for the program.

  2. Follow the link in your acceptance email or get the microfinancing instructions here.

  3. Together we assemble the required documents and Groundswell sends the application to our contact at Vancity for review.

  4. Upon approval, you will be asked to visit a Vancity branch in your neighbourhood to open an account and sign the agreement.

Alumni:

Email us directly at admin@groundswellcommunity.ca

FAQ

When do I have to pay the money back?

A payment schedule will be created with you taking your budget and entrepreneurial plans into consideration. Normally the repayment is done over five years with a set payment every month.  If you would like to pay the loan back earlier, that’s ok too!

How much are monthly payments?

The payments will be the same amount every month and depends on the interest rate and amount you borrow.  For example, a five year loan for $15,000 will have a payment of about $300 per month.  Please consider using this loan calculator to see how much your payment could be on the amount you wish to borrow.

What is the interest?

Prime + 3% (for example, prime was 3.95 in April 2019)

Are there any other costs associated with the microloan?

No.  There is no application fee, or prepayment penalty. You can pay off the loan anytime.

Will this affect my credit rating?

The first tenet of Vancity’s microfinancing program is, “Do no harm”. These microloans are designed to improve your credit rating, not damage it. They are normally spread over 12 to 60 months depending on your budget. It is our goal to support you in creating good financial stability for yourself.  If you find yourself struggling with your payment, your credit rating could be negatively affected, so please let us know and we’ll find a solution together.