Residents in the Downtown Eastside who complete our Development program have the opportunity to join our Entrepreneurship program. Entrepreneurs in the program are supported by business professionals through personalized weekly mentorship sessions and have access to affordable microloans. Our goal is for our entrepreneurs to have a long-term sustainable economic effect on our members.
What You Get.
Your Own Mentor
Low Rate Microloans
About Our Micro Loans.
We understand that running a business costs money and sometimes it can be hard to afford what you need. We passionately believe in providing a hand up through microloans.
All members enrolled in Employ To Empower’s Entrepreneurship program have access to microloans ranging between $500 and $10,000, at a preferred interest rate of 5%.
Our Current Loan Rate.
Our Current Members.
Deirdre Pinnock is a talented rughooker, ardent mental health advocate, aspiring entrepreneur, and self-identified woman of colour based in Vancouver, BC. Deirdre is passionate about fusing vivid colours, playfulness, and therapeutic qualities in her many pieces of creative work.
Sage Bullick is a capable and diverse artist, who identifies as being a “light bringer” and endeavours to spread joy and happiness, and promote genuine human interaction through her artistic pursuits. Sage is passionate about making wearable ears inspired by the fantasy world, as a means of expressing her emotions through creativity.
Mark Defreitas, also known as "Crap Trapper" is an active member and contributor to the Downtown Eastside community. He works as a street cleaner in the Downtown Eastside for Eastside Works, and ETE recently collaborated with him in starting Crap Trapper, a small business focused on removing human waste in the Downtown Eastside. Mark strongly believes in hiring only people who face work and social barriers and would like to increase tourism in Chinatown through his services.
Iven is a Counsellor (RTCC) and expressive art therapist. He works with alternative forms of therapy such as music, play, and art making to foster positive mental health and self care - TherARTy. Currently, Iven sells a Medicine Art calendar that uses recycled paper that focuses on friendly mental health messages.
I study the positive effects of play, music and art making on people, what experience do we have physically, emotionally, and how are those experiences related to our personal healing. Playing music in bereavement and palliative setting since approx. two decades taught me that I am able to create a healing space for people transforming emotional pain using art and music.
Am I Eligible?
Our Entrepreneurship program gives you access to free, weekly business mentorship, as well as affordable microloans. To be eligible to join this program, you must have completed our Development course. The following requirements also apply:
- Be a motivated entrepreneur
- Have photo ID
- Have an address in Canada
- Self-identify as an individual who has experienced mental health and/or substance use in the Downtown Eastside
- Be unable to access traditional bank financing for a small business
- Reside in Canada
- Be a Canadian citizen/permanent citizen
- Filed taxes for the previous year
- Have a Notice of Assessment
Have a business idea and proven track record of sales. No need to be incorporated.