The ACT Microcredit Loan Program was launched by the Minister for Community Services, Andrew Barr MLA on 24 February 2014. The program is delivered via a three-way partnership involving the ACT Government, Westpac Institutional Bank and Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre. This partnership seeks to provide fair, safe and ethical loans to people who, because of their circumstances, are not able to access mainstream financial services.
The ACT Microcredit Loan Program provides a limited number of low interest and fee-free loans from Westpac for eligible low-income earners who wish to start or expand an existing business. The program provides loan recipients with business skills development, individual mentoring, peer support and access to networking events.
Interest free loans, up to the value of $3,000, and low-interest loans, valued between $3,001 and $10,000, are available to eligible individuals.
The program will provide a range of services including an orientation session, business ideas assessment workshop, training, one-on-one mentoring, peer support and opportunities to attend events such as expert peer-led group discussions and networking events.
The focus of the Program is on skilling the loan applicants and recipients on business planning and management to ensure that only businesses that have a reasonable chance of success are supported.