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Nishnawbe Aski Development Fund is looking to develop peer lending groups through its recently implemented Aboriginal Women’s Microloan Program.
“We’re hoping to have five-plus women in (each) group and only three at once can access the loan,” said Linda McGuire, NADF’s microloans project coordinator. “The women who are going to be accessing these loans are either women who are in business or expanding their business or want to start a business.”
McGuire said the groups also require one or two mentors with business or leadership knowledge.
“The women are going to monitor and mentor each another,” McGuire said. “They are the ones who are going to be in control — if they get a loan, they’ve got to make sure they pay back that loan.”
Once the peer lending groups are formed, they will have access to $500 to $1,000 loans in stage one, to be paid back within nine months; $2,000 in stage two, to be paid back within 18 month; $3,000 in stage three, to be paid back in 27 months; or $5,000 in stage four, to be paid back in 27 months.
“They have to go through each stage, get their loan paid back, and then they can move on (to the next stage),” McGuire said. “Or else they can just stay at that one stage if they want.”
McGuire said the program will provide easier access to loans than is available through traditional banking institutions.