Government of Canada announces new support fund for Quebec SMEs based outside of major urban centres



    ROBERVAL, QC, Feb. 27 /CNW Telbec/ - The Honourable Denis Lebel, Minister
of State for Canada Economic Development, today confirmed that an agreement
has been reached with the Fonds commun des Sociétés d'aide au développement
des collectivités on the creation of an $8 million Business Support Fund.
    Adopted specifically to ensure small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)
are able to obtain financing to meet their working capital needs, this measure
will enable the Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) and
Business Development Centres (BDCs)-known respectively in Quebec as Sociétés
d'aide au développement des collectivités (SADC) and Centres d'aide aux
entreprises (CAE)-to provide financial assistance to enterprises operating in
the manufacturing and tourism industries, among others. This new access to
capital will allow these firms to pursue their activities and carry out new
projects.
    "In creating this Business Support Fund, we are giving ourselves an easy
and effective tool to help some 130 Quebec SMEs weather the current economic
storm. As we well know, many of these companies are at a particularly critical
stage in their development, and the support we are able to give them will have
a positive impact on their own viability and, by extension, on the
socio-economic vitality of the Quebec communities in which they are based,"
explained Minister of State Lebel.
    Pierre Marois, President of the Réseau des SADC du Québec, expressed his
enthusiasm at the concrete outcome of the talks with Canada Economic
Development. "In times of crisis, it is important to be able to pinpoint the
real problem and find a solution. The option chosen, largely as a result of
CFDC and BDC expertise, will allow us to begin immediately injecting
enterprises with the cash assets they are currently lacking. Our organizations
are ready now to take applications and to make quick though judicious
decisions."
    The flexibility of the Business Support Fund will make it possible to
react quickly to situations requiring urgent action, particularly in times of
financial and economic turmoil. With many SMEs struggling to maintain their
short-term growth, the current situation calls for an intervention measure
that is based on the achievement of specific and concrete results.
    The funding authorized under the terms of this new Fund, which ends March
31, 2009, will be paid to the Fonds commun des SADC in the form of repayable
contributions through the Community Futures program.




For further information:

For further information: Suzanne Thebarge, Communications, Canada
Economic Development, (514) 496-6714, suzanne.thebarge@dec-ced.gc.ca; Eric
Lefebvre, Senior Assistant, Communications Office of the Honourable Denis
Lebel, Canada Economic Development, (613) 608-7906,
eric.lefebvre@dec-ced.gc.ca; Canada Economic Development is online at
www.dec-ced.gc.ca. Subscribe to the Agency's press releases at
http://www.dec-ced.gc.ca/eng/media-room/mailing-list/list.html to keep up with
the latest news.


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