The VERGE Startup Fund was established in 2014 with philanthropic grants to Pillar Nonprofit Network, with additional lending capital and administrative support provided by Libro Credit Union.
What we offer
VERGE Capital offers low interest loans with flexible repayment terms, and does not require excessive collateral or personal guarantees from borrowers. This results in more equitable access to financing, especially for those who have experienced barriers to traditional sources of capital, wealth and income.
We prioritize social entrepreneurs from (or organizations that serve) underserved and underrepresented communities, such as Indigenous, rural or remote regions, racialized, newcomer, LGBTQ2+, people with disabilities, women and those who identify as non-binary.
How we invest
VERGE Capital's Startup Fund provides loans to social enterprises in Southwestern Ontario that contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, “a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and improve the lives and prospects of everyone, everywhere.”
We embody these targets through our core values, investing in:
- Local impact
- We invest in locally-rooted social enterprises because they understand and are committed to serving the needs of their community. Innovative solutions created by, and for, the people of Southwestern Ontario generate and circulate community wealth and bring positive change in the lives of our neighbours.
- Equity & inclusion
- We invest in an inclusive economy that reflects the diversity of our communities and promotes prosperity for all. The social enterprises we support break down barriers to equitable economic opportunities such as employment, education and housing, and are committed to social, racial and economic justice.
- Climate action
- We invest in the only planet we have, protecting it for future generations. Sustainability is not enough – our climate emergency requires social enterprises that prioritize climate action. This means reducing greenhouse gas emissions, restoring our natural environment and leading the transition to a circular, clean and carbon-neutral economy.
- Systemic change
- We invest in social enterprises and innovations that address the root causes of our systemic social, economic, racial and gender inequalities. We support long-term, upstream solutions that shift culture, behaviour and policy to create lasting change.
For Startup Enterprises
Focus Startup social enterprises; funds must advance business operations & social purpose, (excludes feasibility studies & business plan development)Eligibility
- Operations in Southwestern Ontario
- From pre-revenue to early stage startups
- Core mission addresses a social, environmental and/or cultural challenge
Loan Terms $5,000-$100,000, flexible terms up to 5 yearsInterested in Applying?
So far, the VERGE Startup Fund has invested over $550,000 in over 15 local social enterprises. These community changemakers are building impactful organizations to create a vibrant, engaged and inclusive community across Southwestern Ontario.
Old East Village Grocer
Operated by ATN Access Inc., the OEV Grocer has a dual impact of providing training and employment to persons with disabilities and access to food in an underserved neighbourhood.
For the Love of Laundry
For the Love of Laundry is a social enterprise that sponsors free laundry services for low income families and individuals in need.
Textbooks for change
Textbooks for Change is a B Corporation that is dedicated to providing affordable and accessible educational material to students both locally and abroad.
With every home purchase or sale through Earmark, 20% of your realtor’s commission is earmarked for donation to London "change makers", invest in the fabric of the London community.