Northern Ontario Women’s Economic Development Conference
Peer Lending Circles: Women Helping Women
People need money to start businesses or expand them, but not everyone can meet the banks’ requirements – minimum loan amounts, good credit history, and collateral. PARO uses an innovative financing solution to help women access money for their businesses.
Peer lending circles provide members with advice and support for their businesses, using a nontraditional lending model to access capital. Members review and approve one another’s loan applications, give references for each other, and are collectively accountable for loan repayment. Capital comes from PARO’s partners in the local financial community. Giving women access to financing for their micro-enterprises increases the entire community’s capacity for economic self-reliance.
“Our members have found increased confidence in themselves as business women in our community through their interaction with one another and the PARO organization as a whole. The loans … helped some of us expand, begin our business, or improve on what we have already established.” – PARO Peer Circle
Images courtesy Jean Paul, contracted by PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise