North

Here's more info on the N.W.T. government's low-interest loan program for businesses

The Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corporation has released more details on its low interest loan program for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Loan program part of territory's $13.2M financial relief package

A file photo of a piggy bank. In order to be eligible for the BDIC loans, business owners must live in the territory and show that they have been affected by the pandemic. (Shutterstock)

The Northwest Territories Business Development and Investment Corporation has released more details on it's low interest loan program for businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The loan program was announced Friday by Finance Minister Caroline Wawzonek as part of the territory's $13.2 million financial relief package.

On its website, BDIC says it's "providing immediate financial assistance to small businesses operating in the Northwest Territories" by offering loans of up to $25,000 at an interest rate of 1.75 per cent. It says companies may apply for more if they need it, and that their loans will be amortized for up to five years with options for deferred payments. 

In order to be eligible for the loans, business owners must live in the territory and show that they have been affected by the pandemic. Businesses with up to 50 employees can apply, but those with fewer than 20 will be given priority.

We will keep our chins up, and keep looking for support wherever we can.- Scott Thomson, Stanley Boxing and Fitness co-owner

The website has a form that businesses can fill in to apply, but as of Tuesday, it stated that BDIC and the territorial government were still working on figuring out how businesses can submit that form.

In an update Wednesday morning, Industry, Tourism and Investment spokesperson Drew Williams said the deadline for the first round of applications has been moved up to March 31 at midnight. It was previously due April 3.

Williams also said his department's website now has information on who to submit the applications to: residents' regional Industry, Tourism and Investment office.

He said the BDIC site will be updated Wednesday morning to reflect the changes.

BDIC says it hopes to have applications processed within two weeks, meaning successful applicants won't receive their loans until the middle of April at the earliest. 

'We will see what happens'

Scott Thomson and John Stanley, who co-own Stanley Boxing and Fitness, say they've already filled out their forms to apply for the loan program but are waiting on the government to tell them where to submit them. Thomson says he's not sure how or if his business will make it through the current crisis, but he's remaining optimistic.

"We will see what happens. I've learned with all of this that trying to predict what is going to happen tomorrow is pointless. Everything changes so fast and it causes unneeded stress as we usually picture the worst case scenario," Thomson says.

"We will keep our chins up, and keep looking for support wherever we can."

The Corporation says these relief measures are just the first steps. 

"The first intake of applications will allow the [N.W.T. government] to assess the needs of the N.W.T. business community," the BDIC website states.

"It is a first step in understanding the degree to which N.W.T. businesses are being impacted."

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