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$1 million in small business loans provided by Rise Asset Development to entrepreneurs overcoming mental health and addiction challenges

Toronto, ON. November 1, 2017 – Rise Asset Development today announced that it has granted more than $1 million in loans to Ontario entrepreneurs. Rise provides low interest small business loans, training and mentorship to people with a history of mental health or addiction challenges.

The $1 million mark was reached with a loan to Bernard Walters, owner of Big B Disposal Services in Toronto. Bernard’s mentor with Rise helped him apply for a loan to help with the purchase of a vehicle for his junk removal and moving business. Bernard is making a social impact by hiring people living in homeless shelters to work in his business.

“When you make a transition – a change in career or family situation – it’s not always easy to take the next step,” he explains. “Just having somewhere to go, something to do is key to feeling like you are part of society again. That side of my business is rewarding.”

Bernard’s business is expanding to include home renovations, he is building a base of repeat customers and he continues to meet with his Rise mentor.

Other businesses supported with loans this year include ventures in photography, career services, home décor and dog walking.

“Rise is proud to invest in entrepreneurs like Bernard,” says Beth Dea, interim CEO of Rise. “We granted a record number of loans last year while maintaining a low default rate. As we expand across Canada this year, we are building on a successful model that brings wide-reaching impact for communities, entrepreneurs and volunteers.”

In the last two years alone, Rise has supported 132 individuals with small business loans in 32 communities, engaging over 100 volunteer mentors. In addition to its Small Business Lending program, Rise offers the Youth Small Business Program, the Peer Supported Start-up Program and mentoring.

Launched in 2010, Rise exclusively serves people with a history of mental health and addiction challenges with supported entrepreneurship services. Rise is supported by Founding Donor Sandra Rotman, Impact Donors the Province of Ontario, Janis Rotman, Bell Let’s Talk and RBC Foundation, and Program Donors BDC, Citi Foundation, Cannonbury Foundation and Shoppers Drug Mart Foundation.