Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program (EDP) in Western Canada

The Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program (EDP) is available to those who are disabled and live in Western Canada. This program allows a disabled person access to a multitude of services that can assist you in starting up, or expanding a small to medium size business. Most of the services are free and provide many opportunities for networking.

Eligibility

You must be at least 18 years of age and reside in Western Canada. There are certain guidelines that are followed to determine if your disability fits the required criteria. You must suffer from a physical or mental disability that has a direct impact on your life. Your disability must impair you in some way from being able to perform at least a single basic activity that is necessary for self-employment or entrepreneurship.

There must be a history of unsuccessful attempts at acquiring some form of funding from alternative sources including financial institutes. You are required to have a good working business plan and either be a current small business owner or attempting to start up a new business.

Services

There are a variety of services available to those that meet the eligibility criteria. There is the option of obtaining a business loan. It does not matter if you have previously been turned down by banks, EDP will assist you in obtaining loans from alternative sources. There are private loans as well as those issued by the government.

Loans are available for different requirements. The amount of the loan will depend on the project but it will be designed to fit your individual needs. The amount will also depend on what you are able to afford as a loan repayment.

Some of the types of assignments that may be covered would be:

  • Starting a marketing promotion including its development and materials that may be needed
  • The start-up of a new business or the expansion of an existing one
  • Acquiring new technology to improve the efficiency of your business
  • The upgrading of both equipment and facilities
  • A cash amount that can help deal with an increase in actual sales

You can have access to different forms of training that relates to your type of business as well as business development. They also provide counseling services that can either be one-on-one or in a group environment. Mentoring can be a vital asset to those looking to become an entrepreneur. You will have the opportunity to acquire knowledge from others that have been successful and people that are in the same position as you.

Assistance is available to help identify your needs. If there is special equipment that is necessary for you to run your business, the EDP will help you to find out what it is as well as helping you with the resources to obtain any equipment. If necessary, training will also be provided.

The Western Canada Business Service Network

The Western Canada Business Service Network is comprised of many different organizations that those that are part of the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program have access to. Depending on which area of Canada you live in will determine what is available to you. Some of the members include:

Women’s Enterprise Initiative is specifically for women and offer counselling and access to loans.

Francophone Economic Development Organizations are for francophones and provide information, capital and training.

Canada Business is a single access point that provides information on all federal and provincial programs, services and regulations.

Community Futures are designed for youth and those with disabilities in the form of loans, counseling and a range of services for entrepreneurs.

Although living with a disability can be difficult at times, it does not mean that you cannot fulfill your dreams and ambitions. In Western Canada, there is a great deal of support offered to those that wish to start their own business. Even if you think it is something you could never do, you don’t have to be alone and you will be given guidance every step of the way

If you have been struggling to get started then the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program can be just the solution you have been searching for. To find out where to obtain an application, this can be found online or at a local office, call 1-888-338-9378. You can also email info@wd-deo.gc.ca. Step out of your comfort zone and spread your wings. This could be the opportunity of a lifetime. Define yourself, not by your disability, but by the chances you have taken.