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Loan gives Coquitlam business a lift after COVID-19 struggle

More funds still available for female entrepreneurs as part of a federal COVID-19 economic recovery program
Rachelle Mellanby, owner of Dogs Crossing,
Rachelle Mellanby, owner of Dogs Crossing, was one of a number of Tri-City business owners who took advantage of a COVID-19 federal loan program to assist in their economic recovery. More cash is available and a webinar is being held to explain the program.

A Coquitlam business is going to the dogs — thanks to a federal government loan being made available to help women-run businesses hit hard by COVID-19.

Rachelle Mellanby, owner of Dogs Crossing, said the loan she received helped her business recover from a pandemic-related cutback, that resulted in the temporary layoff of two workers.

With the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund loan acquired through the Women’s Enterprise Centre, Mellanby was able to get her business back up and running, which resulted in new business from the many people who got puppies in the spring.

“My goals for Dogs Crossing have changed since COVID-19. I have aimed for as much consistency for the staff as possible during these uncertain times. I have had to focus on the existing clients and am so grateful for their continued business,” said Mellanby.

The loan, made available through the federal Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, enabled her to refresh her website, oder more uniforms, and to hire someone to assist with social media and build an online presence.

The cash, which is interest free until Dec. 31, 2022, is part of a larger roll out of programs to support Candian small-to-medium-size businesses.

Women entrepreneurs can get loans of up to up to $40,000 to help them recover from economic disruption resulting from COVID-19.

The money is being targeted at a time when women entrepreneurs have been forced to assume most of the responsibility for childcare and home schooling while keeping their businesses afloat. Women are also more likely to self finance their business, and during these uncertain times may be even more reluctant to increase their debt load to support their business, according to the Women’s Enterprise Centre, a non-profit organization devoted to helping BC women start, lead and grow their own business. 

The loan is interest free until Dec. 31, 2022, and if 75% of the original loan amount is repaid by this date, the remaining 25% is forgivable which means the risk to the business is lower than regular debt financing.

To find out more, a webinar will be held on Nov. 30 to explain the program.