DIVERSEcity: Breaking down barriers with microloans


About this story

  • Organization
    DIVERSEcity
  • Region
    Lower Mainland, BC
  • Area of impact
    New Immigrants; Financial literacy
  • Type of investment
    Microloans; Coaching
  • Download a long version of this story.
  • DIVERSEcity is an organization supported by Vancity and its members through the Jumpstart® program.

The microloan program offered at DIVERSEcity helps professionals from other countries access small loans to attain Canadian certification, so they can work in their chosen field. Immigrant doctors, lawyers, accountants, nurses, teachers and highly trained professionals from a dozen other fields can be found working in low-paying jobs all across BC. For many, all they need to work in their profession is Canadian certification, which is often too costly for people who are just getting by, working in minimum-wage jobs. Partnerships between Vancity and social enterprises like DIVERSEcity are helping many newcomers to break out of this circle.

Over the years Vancity has provided grants to DIVERSEcity for delivering a wide variety of services, including financial literacy training, employment/self-employment opportunities, community services, counselling and financial services. Vancity processes and provides microloans to newcomers, opens accounts for these newcomers, coaches DIVERSEcity in microlending, and has three specific programs to support microloans: Back to Work, With These Hands, and Circle Lending.

Similar microloan initiatives are also underway between Vancity and Abbotsford Community Services Society, and Vancity and InterCultural Association of Victoria. All of these initiatives are supported, in part, by investments earned on our Jumpstart savings products.