Financial Aid

It is Groundswell’s mandate to keep our programs accessible and inclusive and reduce the risk of starting and growing a business. As a Groundswell student or alumni, you can access bursaries and microfinancing which can be used together to make tuition payments simple and easy, as well as seed funding to launch and grow your small business.

Special thanks to our funders and donors for your support in making Groundswell more accessible!


Bursaries are available for indigenous people, POC, trans people, people with disabilities, and low-income inner city residents for all three of our social entrepreneurship programs: Explore, Build, and Test Market . Any remaining tuition that is not covered by a bursary is eligible for microfinancing through our partnership with Vancity, see details below.

Indicate your interest for a bursary when you apply for any Groundswell program . Bursaries are dispersed according to your level of need and the total number of bursary funds dispersed.

Newcomer Women Scholarship

We are pleased to be offering scholarships for newcomer immigrant and refugee women interested in the Groundswell Explore and Build Programs.

Find our more at:


Money is a big barrier to many of us who want to explore the route to self employment, small business ownership, or founding a non-profit or other community organization.  We are lucky enough to have a credit union in town who understands that having a lack of access to funds simply means that first step can be our of reach.  Thank you Vancity for your continued support of Groundswell and our community!

As an applicant to Groundswell programs you can access no fee, low interest microfinacing to cover your tuition fees for Groundswell's Explore, Build, or Test Market programs. 

After completing the Build or Test Market program, you can access up to $50,000 for your start-up costs, with the same no fee, low interest terms.

How does it work?

Prospective Students

  1. Let us know you are interested in financing for either Groundswell EXPLORE, BUILD or TEST MARKET tuition wheny ou apply for the program.

  2. We’ll send you a short and simple loan application and walk you though it.

  3. Together we assemble the required documents and Groundswell sends the application to our contact at Vancity for review.

  4. Upon approval, you will be asked to visit a Vancity branch in your neighbourhood to open an account and sign the agreement.

Groundswell Alumni

  1. Meet with a Groundswell mentor to review your business plans.

  2. Complete Vancity's Be My Own Boss financing application, indicating your business training in Groundswell's programs, and third-party review by a Groundswell mentor.

  3. Compile required documents with Groundswell's help and submit!


When do I have to pay the money back?

A payment schedule will be created with you taking your budget and entrepreneurial plans into consideration. Normally the repayment is done over five years with a set payment every month.  If you would like to pay the loan back earlier, that’s ok too!

How much are monthly payments?

The payments will be the same amount every month and depends on the interest rate and amount you borrow.  For example, a five year loan for $15,000 will have a payment of about $300 per month.  Please consider using this loan calculator to see how much your payment could be on the amount you wish to borrow.

What is the interest?

Prime + 3% (for example, prime was 3.45 in April 2018)

Are there any other costs associated with the microloan?

No.  There is no application fee, or prepayment penalty. You can pay off the loan anytime.

Will this affect my credit rating?

Groundswell microloans are designed to improve your credit rating, not damage it, so they are normally spread over 12 to 60 months depending on your budget. It is our goal to support you in creating good financial stability for yourself.  If you find yourself struggling with your payment, your credit rating could be negatively affected, so please come and speak with us.

Get started!

Indicate that you're interested in microfinancing when you apply for any Groundswell program.