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About Windmill Microlending

Windmill Microlending is a registered charity serving newcomers since 2005. We offer microloans to help skilled immigrants and refugees continue their careers in Canada. Funded by the public and private sector, Windmill is Canada’s largest and most successful microlending program for immigrants and refugees.

Windmill Microlending empowers skilled immigrants to achieve economic prosperity by providing microloans and support.

Who We Help

Windmill supports immigrants and refugees who come to Canada with education, skills and experience but struggle to resume their careers here. Our clients may be under-employed in “survival jobs” because they cannot afford the cost of Canadian credentials or licensing. They are likely unable to access mainstream credit in Canada because they have low income and/or no Canadian credit history.

How We Help

Windmill provides microloans of up to $15,000 to skilled immigrants and refugees so they can succeed in their careers. We support clients to obtain the Canadian licensing or training required to work in their field, or to secure a position which matches their level of education, skills, and experience. Our loans can pay for exams, training, assessments, books and materials, living allowance, relocation costs, professional association fees, and other expenses related to advancing their career.

A microloan from Windmill helps clients significantly increase their income. On average, our clients triple their income by the time their loan is repaid. Our loans are managed with the challenges of immigration and settlement in mind and with client success as our goal. Read more.

Victor, a Windmill client, explains how Windmill supported him on his career journey in Canada.

Who We Are

Learn about Windmill’s leadership team.

We need your support

Get involved with others who believe in the power of microloans to help skilled immigrants and refugees achieve career success in Canada.


Have more questions?

Read our Frequently Asked Questions for more information.

Dr. Maria Eriksen Windmill MicrolendingOur Founder

In 2004, Dr. Maria Eriksen, a Calgary-based clinical psychologist, was frustrated. Many of the janitorial staff at the hospital where she worked were internationally-trained health professionals, unable to practice in their professions because of obstacles in licensing and accreditation.

Together with her friends, she organized the first six loans to support the costs of training and reaccreditation. Since then, Windmill Microlending (known at the time as Immigrant Access Fund) has made over $35M in loans and has supported over 5,000 skilled immigrants and refugees.