PARO Centre Expanding Microloans Program

Dryden Chamber of Commerce, Thunder Bay Chamber of Commerce Harold Wilson Business Thunder Bay
Bill Mauro speaking at Prince Arthur Hotel during press conference - photo Lynda Henshell
Bill Mauro – Photo Lynda Henshell

THUNDER BAY – Politics – Women in remote communities will soon have more access to small business loans, as the PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise will receive$178,500 to expand and adapt its programs in Northwestern Ontario. “This program will help low-income women in small communities by giving them the necessary support and skills to succeed as entrepreneurs. Getting a loan can help start new businesses that will contribute to Ontario’s economy,” stated Bill Mauro the MPP for Thunder Bay Atikokan.

Through the Microlending for Women in Ontario program, six not-for-profit organizations, including the PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise in Thunder Bay, will receive funding to support low-income women who are seeking to start their own business. These organizations will offer financial literacy training, entrepreneurial mentoring, skills development, and life skills support – and this new allocation will allow PARO to expand its microlending program into more remote communities.

Rosalind Lockyer, Executive Director PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise says, “Finding the financing to start a business in remote communities is challenging to say the least.  This new Ontario funding allows us to extend our successful women’s peer lending circle model to remote communities to help meet these challenges.  Because we know and understand the realities of starting a business in remote communities, PARO is raising money from investors and donors to add a small grant component to make this initiative even more valuable to women in the north.”

Women who become business-ready through these programs will be eligible to receive small loans, or microloans, to start their own business.  Close to 400 microloans will be given out across the province.

“Women are best able to support themselves and their families when they are empowered to become financially self-sufficient. Microlending has been proven effective in lifting women out of poverty here in Ontario and around the world – allowing women not only to survive, but to thrive,” shared Laurel Broten the Minister Responsible for Women’s Issues.

Microloans Backgrounder

  • Ontario is funding six not-for-profit organizations across Ontario that will support low-income women who are seeking to start their own business.
  • Microlending programs have been found around the world to be successful in lifting women out of poverty.
  • Microloans are traditionally targeted towards low-income individuals who lack the credit history or collateral to start their own businesses.


Learn more about Microlending for Women in Ontario.
Learn how Ontario is helping women achieve economic security.
Read about Ontario’s Poverty Reduction Strategy

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