Almost 98% of all Canadian businesses are small businesses, and they employ more than 10 million workers. Yet, more than 20% of these businesses are worried about cash flow, and 5% won’t make it through their first year.
As we celebrate Small Business Month, we’d like to take a look at some of the incredible successes that have been made possible through small business financing.
One such business is Fox Fold, a startup looking to disrupt the $107 billion toilet paper industry. It’s a story of guts, hustle, and, most importantly, securing small business financing.
Disrupting an industry.
How often do you think about toilet paper? Chances are, not very often. Yet, for the team at Fox Fold, toilet paper is more than just a commodity – it’s their purpose.
Paper waste in hotels, restaurants, and other commercial settings is a major contributor to the world’s deforestation crisis. Fox Fold grew tired of the toilet paper status quo and is looking to make corporate toilet paper use more sustainable.
Still, disrupting an industry takes time. Not to mention investment. To truly make change, Fox Fold would need startup money to pay for things like legal expenses, prototypes, designers, developers, and more.
This year, co-founders Ludovic Siouffi and Gregory Hegger had reached their personal investment limits and needed a loan to bridge them to their seed round. They knew their business had potential, but they were rejected when they went to the major banks to secure more runway.
Siouffi and Hegger were in a tough spot. How could they secure the financing they needed, without sacrificing their personal funds?
“Don’t get me wrong,” said Siouffi, “if it was just the two of us, we’d probably move into an RV together, and dump all our savings into the business… but we’re married now, we have kids, and many more obligations, so it was important and prudent for us to set limits on how much we felt comfortable to invest into the business.”
Securing small business financing.
Securing small business financing was a pivotal moment in Fox Fold’s journey. Just when it seemed like their startup was at a standstill, Ludovic and Gregory heard about Vancity’s Be My Own Boss Loan Program. This program is designed to help entrepreneurs get the financing they need to start, grow, and succeed.
It was exactly what Siouffi and Hegger had been looking for and so they applied for a microloan.
Here’s what that process looks like:
- Write a business plan. Outline about your mission, business model, and the competitive landscape. What do you need money for? Once you get it, how will you use marketing and other strategies to succeed?
- Determine how much money you need. Prioritize the essential items you’ll need to be successful and demonstrate your understanding of the financial side of your business.
- Choose which loan is right for you. Vancity offers two types of microfinance loans: one specifically designed for industries like hospitality, service, and construction; and another ideal for entrepreneurs new to business ownership. Microloans, like the Be My Own Boss Loan, can help you get the money you need without interest for the first year.
- Apply for the loan. Once all your documents are in order, get ready to sign the loan agreement and start reaping the benefits of small business financing.
- Repayment. Vancity makes it easy to repay your loan with a repayment plan structured for up to seven years with no interest owing for the first year.
Entrepreneurs on a roll.
Just two weeks after applying for the loan, Fox Fold received a $50,000 small business loan with no administrative fees. This gave them the leverage they needed to continue growing their business.
“[We are] so grateful that programs like these exist,” said Siouffi, “filling the gap between traditional bank lending and venture capital.”
It’s clear that with the right advice and support, even the most ambitious of businesses can hit their goals. Fox Fold is now on a roll: meeting deadlines, developing products, and getting closer to its vision of an eco-friendly toilet paper industry.
“[Thanks] to Jasvir Kheleh, Vancity’s Senior Manager of Business Development, for walking us through all the steps. And to Vancity for not only living up to your values but also staying true to your promise to help entrepreneurs!” said Siouffi.
Financing your growing business.
Have a great business idea but lack financial resources? With Vancity’s small business financing services, you can access the capital you need to start, grow, and succeed.
Even if you don’t qualify for traditional business loans, or don’t need a conventional loan, Vancity can help. Our application process looks beyond your credit history and considers your ambition, character, and determination.
Our loans are flexible to meet your unique business needs and come with competitive interest rates, and professional advice. See how businesses like Vancouver’s Yoggu! have found growth and success through Vancity loans.
Get in touch to find out how you can access the financing you need to take your business to the next level.