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Community Futures providing grants to women entrepreneurs

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on women entrepreneurs, Community Futures Fraser Fort George is providing grants for businesses that are majority owned and led by women.

A grant up to $5,000 will support women entrepreneurs in hiring a consultant with the specialized expertise required to pivot their business. This funding comes at a critical time where women entrepreneurs require financial support in implementing a plan to become resilient in the new normal.

Funded by Western Economic Diversification Canada through the Women Entrepreneur Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund, the grant may be used as a standalone for consulting services or to leverage other resources such as the Northern Development Initiative Trust (NDIT) consultant rebate program or lending from financial institutions. The grant will be used to support professional services and cannot be used for operating expenses or fixed assets.

Eligible businesses will have been in operation for a minimum of two years, financially viable prior to COVID, and must be able to demonstrate the impact of the pandemic on operations. For full eligibility criteria click here.

“The opportunity to access a consultant grant comes at a critical time as women entrepreneurs are striving to reposition or pivot their businesses during an unprecedented time,” said Susan Stearns, General Manager, CF FFG. “The LEAP for Women in Business grant program is enhanced with the option of accessing business coaching, available at no charge, to support all women entrepreneurs with their pivoting endeavours. These tools are only two of many support mechanisms being offered though CF FFG’s LEAP for Women in Business initiative.”

A prerequisite to applying for this grant is completion of Community Futures’ “Holy Business Crisis! Now What?” online course. Open to all, the free online learning will allow the applicant to identify areas for improvement and where a consultant might add value.

The closing date for the first round of applications is October 20, 2020.

About the Funders:

For more than 30 years, Western Economic Diversification Canada has been working to diversify the western economy while improving the quality of life of western Canadians. We aim to be a leader in building a strong, competitive West by focusing on business development, innovation and community development.

Community Futures is a community-based economic renewal initiative, established by the Federal Government in 1985. Our main objectives are to help rural Canadians start or expand a business and to help sustain and improve communities and their local economies. Since 1985, CFs have collectively assisted more than 119,800 entrepreneurs, influenced over 495,800 jobs and injected over $4.2 billion directly into the rural Canadian economy. Each of Community Futures’ 268 offices are led by a local board of directors who volunteer their time, knowledge, and passion to guide a team of professional staff in providing a wide array of business and community economic development services.

Locally, Community Futures Fraser Fort George serves the communities of Mackenzie, Prince George, McBride, Valemount and surrounding rural areas. In the 2019-2020 fiscal year, we approved approximately $1.1 million dollars in financing to small businesses across the region, representing 19 new or expanded businesses and over 68 jobs (full and part-time) being created or maintained.  Since its inception, Community Futures Fraser Fort George has loaned over $29 million to small businesses across our region. Community Futures offers workshops, business coaching and loan funds to entrepreneurs to start, expand, or purchase an existing business.

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