The Scotiabank Women Initiative

The Scotiabank Women Initiative has collaborated with Dr. Barbara Orser and Dr. Allan Riding of the Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa. Together, we have created learning aids designed to assist with the development of your woman-led, woman-owned business.

Financing Your Enterprise is a learning aid that addresses what lenders consider during the adjudication of loan requests. Find out why small business loans get turned down and how you can be better prepared to secure financing. We’ll also provide strategies to obtain sources of capital and tips for managing external financing. This learning aid will help you to understand different ways to finance your business. Sources of capital and tips for managing external financing are provided. Understanding sources of capital is important. Statistics Canada, for example, has reported that 47 percent of all Canadian business owners applied for some form of external financing in 2017. However, among businesses wholly owned (100 percent) by women, only 37 percent requested external financing.

Comparing 100% women-owned with 100% men-owned businesses, women-owned firms were significantly more likely to expect that a request would be turned down. However, Statistics Canada (2017) also found that 100% men-owned businesses were MORE LIKELY to have requests for loans rejected (10.2 percent of applicants) compared to 100% women-owned businesses (6.9 percent of applicants).

It is useful to look at banking relationships from both the borrower and lender perspective.

  1. From a borrower perspective, some business owners perceive that lenders require excessive collateral, provide insufficient funding, and do not give adequate feedback.
  2. From a lender perspective, some small businesses are viewed as risky investments.


It is also useful to understand what lenders consider during the adjudication of loan requests. Traditionally, lenders draw on the so-called “5 C’s of credit” as a framework for credit decisions. 

  1. Character
  2. Capacity
  3. Collateral
  4. Conditions
  5. Capital


Additional sources of capital:

  1. Business angels (angel financing)
  2. Crowdfunding
  3. Debt and lending
  4. Equity
  5. Trade credit
  6. Venture capital
  7. Working capital


If you’re a Canadian, woman-led entrepreneur, download the learning aid PDF to begin your assessment today.