New identity part of national growth strategy for microlending program aimed at skilled immigrants and refugees
CALGARY, Aug. 30, 2018 /CNW/ - Since 2005, Immigrant Access Fund Canada has helped 4000 skilled immigrants and refugees restart their careers by offering over $21M in microloans towards the costs of obtaining Canadian credentials. Today CEO Claudia Hepburn announced the charity is changing its name to Windmill Microlending.
"Immigrants bring high levels of education, experience and skills to Canada, which too often go to waste," said Hepburn. "Our microloans help convert newcomer skills into Canadian credentials and careers, just as a windmill converts wind energy into productivity."
Underemployment of immigrants costs Canada$13 billion annually according to the Conference Board of Canada. Windmill Microlending addresses this problem by offering low-interest loans to skilled immigrants and refugees to help pay for the costs of obtaining their Canadian credentials. Windmill microloans of up to $10,000 reduce the financial barrier so newcomers can restart their careers, improving their opportunities for prosperity and their economic contributions to Canada.
"For a long time we have been among the proudest changemakers but also one of the best kept secrets in Canada's immigration sector," said Andreas Souvaliotis, CEO of Carrot Rewards and Windmill Board Director. "Our exciting new brand and name will help attract even more skilled newcomers who could benefit so significantly from our service."
Founded in Calgary in 2004, Windmill is an innovative social enterprise that has become a national charity supported by well-known philanthropists, community foundations, corporations and government. Its results are impressive. Windmill enables clients to triple their income and to find employment that matches their skills and experience, while also filling labour market shortages in fields like healthcare and engineering. The repayment rate for Windmill loans is 97.5%.
The new name and brand identity were previewed for staff and stakeholders at a June event in Calgary, with a keynote address from Mohamad Fakih, CEO of Paramount Fine Foods, philanthropist, and well-known advocate and for refugees and immigrants. "I wish this has been available when I immigrated to Canada," he told the crowd. "Economic integration is an important part of integration, of feeling you belong in Canada and are contributing to Canada."
Successful economic integration of immigrants will continue to be a key driver for Canada's prosperity and growth.
About Windmill Microlending
Formerly known as Immigrant Access Fund Canada, Windmill Microlending is Canada's largest and most successful microlending charity for skilled immigrants and refugees. Windmill converts potential into prosperity by offering low-interest loans to help skilled newcomers obtain the credentials they need to restart their careers in Canada. Windmill is headquartered in Calgary, with offices in Toronto, Edmonton and Saskatoon, and serves clients across the country.
Windmill Microlending is a registered charity supported by donors, sponsors and granting agencies.