Nickel Belt MP Marc Serré and Economic Partners General Manager Neil Fox (Photo taken at the Economic Partners Business BBQ in 2018. Photo supplied.)
The Canadian Government is investing $1.6 million to help create jobs and economic opportunities across our area.
Provided through FedNor’s Community Futures Program, the money will enable Economic Partners Sudbury East-West Nipissing Inc. to offer businesses counselling and access to capital services. The five-year initiative is expected to assist up to 75 businesses and create or maintain 180 jobs.
“For us, it’s a sign that the federal government continues to invest in our program,” said Neil Fox, Economic Partners General Manager. “It’s tax dollars at work and investing in small business. It’s a great program, and [the government] continues to support it and we continue to execute it to the best of our abilities.”
“There is no doubt that small businesses are the backbone of our economy,” said Marc G. Serré, Member of Parliament for Nickel Belt.“Our government recognizes the important role that Community Futures Development Corporations (Economic Partners) play in supporting small business and economic diversification. I am pleased that today’s announcement will help create and maintain jobs, while accelerating growth and improving the economy in the Sudbury East and West Nipissing regions.”
Economic Partners has helped the federal government invest over $2 million in COVID-19 relief programs throughout the area since the pandemic began.
“Our office is a tool for them. We try to make ourselves experts in all things small business. We’re the boots on the ground for the federal government. We know the people here, we understand local business, we know their issues. [The businesses] provide us feedback, let us know what they need and we go back to the federal government and get it for them.” said Fox.
Fox adds that the $1.6 million is their five-year operational budget, but the organization receives other federal investments that they then invest in small businesses. Fox gives the federal government’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) as an example. RRRF sees $40,000 loans given to businesses with 25% of that money forgivable if the balance is paid in full in two years.
“The $1.6 million is an enabler for us to manage our investment fund. We’ve lent over $20 million to businesses in our community over the years. [The $1.6 million] is how we sustain that. People repay their loans and we invest in new businesses,” said Fox.
Economic Partners operational funding has remained the same for the last 12 years.
“Our office operates on $300,000 a year since I’ve been here. That’s our operational funding. We’re very happy to keep receiving these funds, and it enables us to continue doing the things we do,” finished Fox.