Island entrepreneurs are experiencing rapid growth and great success as participants in the province’s new micro-loan program, says Minister Heath MacDonald, Economic Development and Tourism.
“Today I had the opportunity to meet with two young entrepreneurs who took advantage of this support and it was very encouraging to see how quickly their businesses have grown,” said Minister MacDonald. “Dylan Sanderson and Brett Hogan are true examples of young inspiring entrepreneurs with a drive and passion for business. Meeting with them and hearing about their journeys to date was a rewarding experience.”
Sanderson, owner and operator of PEI Inflatables, a party equipment rental company, has been in operation since 2011. The company rents out inflatable interactive games including bouncy castles, slides, and obstacle courses, as well as various party equipment including concession stands. In a short period of time since start-up, Sanderson has amassed 13 inflatables and two concession machines. He provides employment to approximately six individuals during the peak summer months. Sanderson credits the new micro-loan program for the assistance with equipment requirements, allowing the company to grow to its current size.
“We were thrilled when we heard we were approved for the micro-loan program and because of this support we were able to buy unique inflatables to add to our inventory,” said Sanderson. “This program not only helped with the costs associated with purchasing new equipment, but allowed us to better meet the needs of our customers.”
Hogan co-owns Charlottetown’s newest craft beer bar and restaurant, HopYard, alongside business partner Mike Ross. HopYard provides micro and craft beer options, a growing interest and demand in Prince Edward Island, as well as a unique tapas style menu by well-known chef Jane Crawford that complements the operation. The micro-loan program has supported the company with its working capital, which allows HopYard to offer a variety of products from local micro-brewery suppliers. HopYard anticipated hiring approximately eight part-time employees but has since surpassed that number by more than double in the company’s first year of operation. HopYard received the very first micro-loan through Finance PEI and was also the first loan recipient to repay the loan in full.
“We could not have started this business without the support of Finance PEI,” said Hogan. “The loan was needed in the beginning stages to help with our start-up costs, in particular to purchase equipment. The staff were very helpful and we couldn’t believe how quickly everything came together.”
Earlier this year, Finance PEI implemented the new micro-loan program, a loan initiative for entrepreneurs which provides them with both financing and working capital. New categories for the micro-loans include: trades; qualification recognition; small-scale food production; business start-up; and winter production financing. Finance PEI provides loans up to $15,000 per applicant for new and expanding businesses to further respond to the capital needs of entrepreneurs.
For more information on the micro-loan program, visit www.financepei.ca/microloan