The Urban Main Street Loan Initiative (UMSLI) applications are now closed. CEED was proud to offer UMSLI once again to continue to help small businesses through this difficult pandemic.

For more information on CEED’s other funding opportunities click here.

Starting Conversations: Urban Main Street Loan Initiative with Paul McGinn & Seydou Diallo

We sat down with two of our key players involved in the administration of UMSLI to speak on the initiatives background, merits and overall adaptability. Take a deep dive with us into what UMSLI is all about.

Recognizing that Covid-19 has created significant challenges for small, locally owned urban businesses—known as “main street businesses”— CEED is proud to administer the Urban Main Street Loan Initiative (UMSLI), provided by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF).

These loans are used to finance day-to-day business operating costs. Such costs may include sales and marketing, product development, wages, and other qualified expenses. UMSLI loans are intended for retail shops, restaurants, corner stores and businesses with strategic importance to the community.

General details:

  • Maximum loan of $60,000
  • 0% interest until December 31, 2022
  • No principal payments until December 31, 2022
  • Principal repayments may be made at any time without penalty
  • 25% up to a maximum of $15,000 in loan forgiveness is available, provided any outstanding balance is paid back by December 31, 2022
  • If any part of the balance is not paid by December 31, 2022, the remaining balance will be converted to a term loan, effective January 1, 2023
  • The full balance must be repaid no later than December 31, 2025

Am I eligible:

  • Your business must be a social enterprise or a small-to-medium-sized enterprise (SME):
    • An SME is defined as a business with fewer than 500 employees and an annual sales revenue of less than $20 million. Products, goods and services in an SME serve the market economy regardless of their business structure (which may be a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a for-profit or non-profit corporation, or a cooperative).
    • A social enterprise is defined as a business that produces goods and services for the market economy, but manages their operations and redirects their surpluses in pursuit of social, environmental, and community goals. Social enterprises typically grow out of community economic development strategies involving citizens, government, the volunteer sector, business learning institutions, and other partners.
  • Your business must also:
    • Have been a viable enterprise carrying on business and, if appropriate, registered in Nova Scotia on or before March 1, 2020
    • Must be operating or registered to operate within the urban territory of CEED
    • Must have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak
    • Must have had a payroll below $1.5 million in its 2019 fiscal year
  • You must be able to demonstrate that you have attempted to access other federal relief measures under Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, such as the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), Wage Subsidy benefits, or the Commercial Rent Assistance for small businesses, and were either ineligible or rejected, or have received access to COVID-19 relief measures, but continue to experience business issues related to the pandemic
  • You may not receive a loan for the same costs for which your business has received or will receive other federal relief measures
  • Applications are judged on the applicant’s commitment and dedication to the business and earning potential, but an applicant must still demonstrate that its business activities have a reasonable expectation of economic viability, with potential job creation and/or maintenance
  • CEED may require an attestation by the applicant demonstrating need and confirming the loan proceeds will be used for costs or working capital related to COVID-19 disruptions

Eligible costs covered by the loan:

Eligible costs covered by the loan include those that will help stabilize the business and mitigate those effects of COVID-19 not covered by other COVID-19 relief measures. These include:

  • Rent (only eligible if the Canada Emergency Commercial Rental Assistance program has not been accessed)
  • Equipment and machinery rental or leasing
  • Salaries and benefits, if business is not eligible for or was rejected by the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy (CEWS)
  • Property taxes
  • Utilities
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Additional safety measures
  • Bank interest/charges and loan repayment (interest)
  • Office supplies
  • Vehicle operating expenses
  • Professional fees
  • Insurances
  • Other fixed overhead costs and one-time stabilization expenditures
    • Costs that have become due or have been incurred since March 15, 2020
    • Costs not otherwise ineligible


Have questions? Want to learn more about eligibility? Contact us at

How to apply:

UMSLI Loans are available until June 30, 2021. Apply now while applications are open.

Other financing options with CEED:

Is an UMSLI Loan not the right loans program for you? CEED offers other intuitive financing options for any business. No matter where you are in your entrepreneurial journey, we’re here to help.

Start-up Loans

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For over 25 years, CEED has connected entrepreneurs with the resources required to help fund their ventures. CEED’s Startup & Expansion Loans lay the groundwork for you to take the next step with your idea or enterprise.
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Expansion Loans

Is your business ready to grow, but you lack the financing to make it happen?



For over 25 years, CEED has connected entrepreneurs with the resources required to help fund their ventures. CEED’s Startup & Expansion Loans lay the groundwork for you to take the next step with your idea or enterprise.
Learn More