Haliburton’s female entrepreneurs might be getting more support as PARO Centre for Women’s Enterprise looks toward the county for expansion.  

The not-for-profit organization held its first information session May 30 at the Haliburton County Development Corporation (HCDC) to try and expand its peer lending circles initiative.  

Linda Cryderman, a business growth advisor for PARO, said the “circles are not about money, but the support for women in business.”  

The process works like this: groups of four to seven women called ‘circles’ get together once a month to support each other and their businesses.

Circles can apply for loans and grants through PARO for two of their members who need them, and no loan has ever been denied.  

Cryderman said circles will act as mentors to each other as well as the approval board for loan applications.

This means loans are approved by the circle, not a bank. PARO also helps women find lenders if the loans they offer aren’t enough. 

Although the information session only had two local business owners participate, both were looking into starting a circle in the county. 

Terri Mathews-Carl, owner of Rhubarb Restaurant and co-owner of Mathew & Madlyn, said there were a few women she thought would be interested in the project besides herself and other attendee Pat Bradley, owner of Mind Your Inn.

Women who join or start a circle must be 18 and older and only have to pay an annual fee of $20 to join.

Entrepreneurs can contact Cryderman at 1-807- 577-9260 or businessgrowth6@paro.ca for more information.

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