The expanded microcredit program incorporating Brilliant Idea was launched by Minister Andrew Barr on 24 February 2014. The three-way partnership involves loans funds provided by the ACT Government and Westpac Institutional Bank. The program is also supported by other philanthropic funds and was developed and delivered by Lighthouse Business Innovation Centre.
The program provides a limited numberof low interest and fee-free loans for eligible low-income earners who wish to start or further develop an existing business. The program not only provides funds, but also 6 months one-to-one tailored business skills development support, individual mentoring, peer support and access to networking events.
Loans are granted on a competitive basis to the most compelling business concepts or the most well developed business growth plans. Expenses must be directly related to development and growth of the business, with some expenses being ineligible for funding.
All loans have a defined repayment period and attract similar scrutiny as that applied to any bank loan. Preferred payment terms are two years, but this may be negotiable
There are two forms of funding available:
- Interest free loans of up to $3,000. These loans are for start-ups only.
- Interest bearing loans (3% per annum) of between $3,001 and $10,000. These loans are for existing businesses only.
The loans target a number of key groups including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, migrants, young people, women and lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgender and intersex individuals. See eligibility and selection criteria here.
Lighthouse accepts loan applications on an ongoing basis.
For more information, please visit http://www.actmicrocredit.com.au