The chance to make a difference.
That’s the purpose behind the Métis Financial Corporation of BC.
And it’s why Evan Salter believes he serves as its CEO.
“There’s a great deal of satisfaction knowing you can help people. That’s not something you can experience in every job,” Salter says.
Opened in 2018, it has been able to help many Métis entrepreneurs get the financial assistance to realize their dreams.
“We lend money to Métis entrepreneurs in B.C. who are either starting up, expanding or purchasing a business,” Salter says. “And one of their biggest handicaps is a lack of access to capital. We can help with that.
“It can be a one-person business, or one that might have over a million dollars in revenue,” Salter explains. “But it’s often smaller businesses from all over the province, with a leaning towards those located in the more rural areas.”
Statistics show that Métis-owned businesses are the fastest-growing indigenous population in British Columbia, and 41 per cent of their entrepreneurs are women.
“Metis-owned businesses are growing at a very high rate, and we make great efforts to provide services to them, especially those run by women. In fact, the first two loans we made were to women, and we’ve been supportive of any woman who has applied to us.”
While the Métis Financial Corporation of BC is growing to offer greater financial help, it can already provide assistance for business plans and loans with competitive rates.
With loans through their COVID-19 program, applicants can be approved for $40,000, with 25 per cent of that as forgivable. These loans are designed to help mitigate the impacts of the crisis and also have no payments for the first year.
“That’s similar to the COVID-19 loans the regular banks are offering. But in our case, the advantage of our loan is the fact it’s interest-free for the full five-year term, and that the forgivable portion is guaranteed,” Salter says.
“We try and be as competitive as we can and keep our interest rates lower than they may find at another institution or bank,” Salter says. “If there’s no reason to get financing from us that makes sense, an entrepreneur will simply go where they can get the best deal.
“But we know and understand how we can impact their lives - fulfill their dreams and plans - and we will do our best to make it happen,” Salter says.