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By Design loan

By design loan

Because we believe makers and artists are important.

All types of makers—designers, artists, artisans, and performers–are vital to the creation of a sustainable and healthy creative community. The By Design microloan helps to bring your creative enterprise to life by providing you up to $75,000 to buy materials, rent space, and showcase your portfolio.

Unlike traditional small business loans that are based on business history and collateral, By Design microloans are based on the character of the owner, the vision for the future, and the strength of the business plan.

Are you eligible?

To be eligible to apply for a By Design microloan, you must:

  • Be starting, expanding, or operating a creative or design-focused business.
  • Operate the business in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley Regional District, Greater Victoria, or the Sea-to-Sky Corridor.
  • Be a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident.
  • Have at least one business owner with training or experience in art or design.
  • Have at least one business owner enrolled in or recently graduated from a self-employment or pre-entrepreneurial program, or an arts production and marketing program or…
  • Have your business plan reviewed by a business advisor (such as Small Business BC).

Key benefits

  • Qualify at start-up, pre-revenue, based on the strength of your character and idea
  • Qualify for a loan even without a strong credit history
  • Receive funds as a line of credit* and/or a term loan**—your choice
  • Pay no administrative fees***
  • Gain access to Vancity’s business expertise and financial literacy support
  • Benefit from access to a co-operative network of members

Vancity no longers offer the ABLED/ACED program in conjunction with Western Economic Diversification Canada as the program was discontinued on as of March 31, 2018.

The program is now with Community Futures of BC therefore if you are still interested in the ABLE/ACED program, please refer to the following link:

Loan details

  • Loan size: Apply for up to $75,000
  • Loan type: Choose a term loan or line of credit (maximum 25% of total request)
  • Interest charged: Pay prime plus 3%
  • Repayment period: Repay the loan within 7 years.

Use this microloan for:

  • Working capital
  • New production and services capacity
  • Performance space or workshop space
  • Financing between contracts
  • Business purposes or business related expenses
  • Purchasing tools or equipment
  • Participation in trade and craft fairs (support is limited to entrance fees and development of tradeshow booths; personal travel is not supported)
  • Leasing office space
  • Research and development leading to commercialization
  • Pre-commercial and commercial product development
  • Market development

Apply now

We encourage eligible designers, artists, and artisans to apply for a By Design microloan.

To start the process:

If you have questions about the By Design microloan, please email

*A term loan is repaid over a specific period of time by making payments on both the principal and interest.
**A line of credit (also known as an operating loan) requires the loan-holder to repay only the interest on the outstanding loan balance each month.
***Administrative fees are waived under the microloan program for all term loans and for the first five years on your line of credit.