Community Futures North Cariboo manager Greg Lawrence presents to the North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee Sept. 10 at the Barlow Creek Hall. Lindsay Chung photo

Funds still available in North Cariboo through Wildfire Business Transition Program

Community Futures North Cariboo hopes local businesses will take advantage of the opportunity

Community Futures North Cariboo has money that it wants to give to local businesses.

In his presentation to the North Cariboo Joint Planning Committee Sept. 10 at the Barlow Creek Hall, Community Futures North Cariboo (CFNC) manager Greg Lawrence asked Quesnel councillors and northern Cariboo Regional District directors to spread the word to their networks that funding is still available through the Wildfire Business Transition Program, which provides financial support for the increased training needs of businesses and not-for-profits affected by the 2017 wildfire season, and with wildfire recovery support.

Lawrence says that program is coming to an end, and he encourages local businesses to apply for support to re-train and grow their businesses, noting training can be back-dated as well.

“It’s been very successful in my mind,” he said.

Lawrence says Community Futures and its ambassadors have provided 5,084 business advisory services, with direct contact with 2,899 individual businesses.

The Wildfire Business Transition Program provides self-directed training support for employee training and business coaching, and through this program, there are also regional training workshops. Lawrence says there have been 185 workshops since the inception of the program, and 2,022 people have attended these workshops throughout the North Cariboo region. Workshops will continue through October this year.

For more information about the program, visit http://cfwildfire.ca.

During his presentation, Lawrence also outlined the ways in which CFNC helps local businesses, including business counselling, training and lending.

Lawrence says the loans program is probably CFNC’s most important tool for helping local businesses.

“We’re different from other financial institutions, particularly banks,” he said. “We’re able to fund startups. We have a higher risk tolerance. Because we’re small and local, we can be responsive to local need.”

Lawrence told the committee they also do some project funding, ranging from $500 for event sponsorship to $5,000 for community economic diversification projects, and some examples of this support include helping the Quesnel Curling Club with its accessibility project and helping the Back Country Horsemen of British Columbia – North Cariboo Chapter with the Collins Overland Telegraph Trail.

Over the years, Community Futures has supported Quesnel and District 4-H for their show and sale awards, the West Quesnel Business Association for the West Village Night Market, the Quesnel Tillicum Society for their Pow Wow, the Quesnel and District Chamber of Commerce for the Business Excellence Awards, the Quesnel Canoe Club for their Boat House, the Gold Rush Cycling Club for their Bicycle Skills Park and Island Mountain Arts for the Art is Your Business Conference, just as some examples of the diversity of projects that can be funded.

To learn more about Community Futures North Cariboo, visit cfquesnel.com.

READ MORE: Community Futures brings in consultants for local businesses



editor@quesnelobserver.com

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