- 1. Who can apply for an ACT Women’s Microcredit Program Loan?
- 2. Where is the program available and how do I apply?
- 3. What will you require from me?
- 4. Does my past credit history count?
- 5. Will I need to give personal security or guarantees to qualify for a microcredit loan?
- 6. What if I can’t meet my loan repayments?
- 7. How much can I borrow under the program?
- 8. What are the terms of the loan?
- 9. What is the interest rate for the loan?
- 10. Are there any other requirements under this program?
- 11. What can I use the loan for?
- 12. How long will I have to repay my loan?
- 13. My husband is involved in my business. Will I still be eligible for a loan?
- 14. What if my loan is approved for purchasing a certain item, but it’s no longer in stock and I need to buy a different brand?
- 15. When will I need to have bought the items approved under my loan agreement?
- 16. Will I have to prepare a budget?
- 17. I’m not eligible for a loan, where else can I go for small business advice and support?
1. Who can apply for an ACT Women’s Microcredit Program Loan?
To be eligible for a loan under this program, applicants must hold one or more of the following issued under the A New Tax System (Family Assistance) Act 1999 (Cth) or Veterans Entitlement Act 1986 (Cth):
- Pensioner Concession Card or its equivalent; and/or
- Health Card or its equivalent; and/or
- Low income card or its equivalent and
- Applicants also need to have lived in the ACT for the past three months; and/or
- Have a business based in the ACT.
If an applicant does not hold any of the cards listed above, they will be required to satisfy the Centrelink definition of a low income earner, which can be viewed here. Please note that Lighthouse will have some discretion in relation to this definition so we encourage you to contact a client manager if you are unsure whether you meet the criteria.
2. Where is the program available and how do I apply?
Applicants must have lived in the ACT for the past three months and/or have a business based in the ACT. The program is administered by Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre and funding is provided by the ACT Government through the Office for Women in the Community Services Directorate. Loan Application forms are available on the website as well as Orientation Session details. Contact a client manager for more information.
3. What will you require from me?
Applicants must submit a completed application and viable business plan for consideration for a Microcredit Loan. Applicants are also required to provide the following:
- Proof of eligibility, such as Pensioner Concession Card; and/or Health Card and/or Low income card
- Evidence that you have lived in the ACT for the past three months or have a business based in the ACT
- A completed application form
4. Does my past credit history count?
Those with a less than perfect credit history are still eligible to apply under the ACT Women’s Microcredit Program.
5. Will I need to give personal security or guarantees to qualify for a microcredit loan?
The ACT Women’s Microcredit Program is designed to support the objectives of the ACT Women’s Plan and the ACT Government’s commitment to advance the economic status of women in the Territory. Lighthouse will evaluate your loan application based on the commercial viability of your business idea and your ability to repay the loan. Lighthouse does not have the capacity to write-off bad debts.
6. What if I can’t meet my loan repayments?
Lighthouse recognises that although there will be a rigorous screening process in terms of granting microcredit loan applications, there are some clients who may not have the capacity to pay their loan due to hardship or change in circumstance. It is the applicant’s responsibility to contact Lighthouse to discuss amending the repayment schedule or a brief reprieve from making repayments.
7. How much can I borrow under the program?
Up to a maximum of $3000.
8. What are the terms of the loan?
The terms and conditions of the loan will be negotiated by Lighthouse and the successful applicant and are connected to the purpose of the loan and the applicant’s ability to meet agreed repayments.
9. What is the interest rate for the loan?
The loans are interest-free.
10. Are there any other requirements under this program?
You will be required to work with a Lighthouse Client Manager for the duration of the loan. This may require you to meet with your Client Manager periodically and to participate in any agreed training or skill development activities necessary to help you build your business.
11. What can I use the loan for?
The loan may be used for purchases relevant to the client’s business and will be considered on a case by case basis. For example:
- The initial purchase of stock to launch a business
- Equipment necessary to set up an office
- Presentation material, such as portfolio folders, business cards etc.
- Training or access to professional services
12. How long will I have to repay my loan?
The loans need to be repaid within 2 years unless otherwise agreed.
13. My husband is involved in my business. Will I still be eligible for a loan?
Yes, you will still be eligible for a loan, but the loan will be in your name only.
14. What if my loan is approved for purchasing a certain item, but it’s no longer in stock and I need to buy a different brand?
Your Lighthouse case manager does not need to hear about variations under $100 as long as they are in the same category.
15. When will I need to have bought the items approved under my loan agreement?
You will need to provide invoices to Lighthouse for payment within 14 business days of your loan being awarded unless otherwise arranged. Details of payment terms for suppliers also need to be provided.
16. Will I have to prepare a budget?
You will be asked to provide a simple personal budget and repayment schedule as part of the loan application. Granting of your loan may be deferred should the repayments required cause you additional financial stress. In this case you will be referred to Care Financial Services in order to assist you with your financial situation. Your loan application will then be reviewed once your financial situation improves and you are able to meet the repayment schedule without it causing undue hardship.
17. I’m not eligible for a loan, where else can I go for small business advice and support?
Women's Network Australia is a membership-based organisation that empowers and encourages women to reach their full potential in business. For over two decades this premier business women's network has been educating, guiding and supporting women in their pursuit of business success.
Family Business Australia is the peak body for family and private business in Australia. Our members include multi-generational family businesses, first generation operators, multi-sibling/cousin owned businesses and their advisers. We advocate on behalf of our members, promote their successes and foster their sustainability and longevity. Our support programs are designed to build stronger families and healthier businesses. Our education programs foster entrepreneurship, innovation and family business best practice. We provide access to specialist family, business and technical services. Our networking events generate opportunities for families in business to learn and grow by networking and sharing with their peers. Family Business Australia assists members to reach their full potential.
- Business & Industry Development http://www.business.act.gov.au
- Business Licence Information Service http://www.blis.act.gov.au
- Canberra Connect http://www.canberraconnect.act.gov.au
- ACT Revenue Office http://www.revenue.act.gov.au
- ACT Government Directory http://www.treasury.act.gov.au
- ACT Government Home http://www.act.gov.au
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- ACT Registrar General's Office https://www.rgoonline.act.gov.au/
- Business Council of Australia http://www.bca.com.au
- ACT Chamber of Commerce http://www.actchamber.com.au
- Canberra Business Council http://www.canberrabusinesscouncil.com.au
- Australian Domain Name Administrator (AUDA) http://www.auda.org.au
- Austrade http://www.austrade.gov.au
- AusIndustry http://www.ausindustry.gov.au
- GrantsLINK http://www.grantslink.gov.au
- ACT Exporters Network http://actexportersnetwork.com.au
- Australian Taxation Office http://www.ato.gov.au
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- FIDO, Financial Tips & Safety Checks (ASIC) http://www.fido.asic.gov.au
- ABR, Australian Business Register http://www.abr.gov.au
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- The Federal Government's business gateway to information and services http://www.business.gov.au
- New Enterprise Incentive Scheme http://www.deewr.gov.au/Employment/JSA/EmploymentServices/Pages/NEIS.aspx
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- ACT Chamber of Women in Business http://www.cwb.org.au
- Micro and Home Based Business Association http://www.mhba.org.au
- Daisy & Dandelion – peer learning for women in business http://www.daisyanddandelion.com.au
- Schmooze networking group http://www.schmooze.net.au
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