PARO – Peer Lending Circles – A Micro-Finance Program for Women (2021)


Peer lending circles are small groups of like-minded women who meet regularly to share their experiences, offer advice to each other and expand their individual and shared contact networks.

Circles are small groups of 4 to 7 women, who are over the age of 18, each of whom currently operates their own business, wishes to start their own business, or believes in women helping women. One of the key elements of a Peer Circle is that members also provide access to lending support of between $500.00 and $5,000.00.

There are a great number of benefits of being a PARO Circle member, including but not limited to:

  1. access to and sharing of business knowledge;

  2. peer mentoring, support, & encouragement;

  3. access to peer loans from $1000 to $5000;

  4. with matching grants of $500 and $1000 (if meet criteria);

  5. access to a variety of perspectives and experiences;

  6. reduced rates for PARO events and equipment rentals.

Comments on Funding:


  • access to peer loans from $1,000 to $5,000;
  • with matching grants of $500 and $1,000 (if meet criteria).

A Peer Loan is so much more than a small business loan. It comes with peer support, training and increased control, to name just a few benefits. A Peer Loan may be the right solution for applicants who:

  1. have no or poor credit history;
  2. have no cash or other source of equity;
  3. need a small loan amount (too small for a bank to consider);
  4. lack trust in typical financial institutions;
  5. want to avoid credit card debt;
  6. want to leverage additional funds.


Applicant must:

  • be women-led small businesses;
  • be located in Ontario.

Applications Steps:

Other Things to Note:

PARO Peer Circles help women to connect and network with other enterprising women. Today PARO is one of the strongest peer lenders of small business loans in North America (Impact- A Social Enterprise Strategy for Ontario, 2013).

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