Minister of State Goodyear announces new measures to help small businesses in Southern Ontario



    ESSEX, ON, Aug. 31 /CNW/ - The Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister of
State (Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev
Ontario)), today announced a Government of Canada investment in Community
Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) in Ontario to support small and
medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) - key drivers of economic activity in Southern
Ontario.
    "This investment will help rural communities strengthen and diversify
their local economies," said Minister Goodyear. "It will also give small and
medium sized businesses in southern Ontario opportunities to grow and create
new jobs."
    Southern Ontario's 37 CFDCs will receive $30 million from the Community
Adjustment Fund (CAF) in the current year. This funding is part of the $350
million that the CAF will receive over two years for projects in Ontario. The
new measures will increase access to capital and business support for rural
SMEs by enhancing products and services offered by Ontario CFDCs.
    The Essex CFDC will receive $1.3 million in capitalization funding and
$91 000 for operational costs.
    "Essex CFDC recognizes that small business's contribution to job growth
forms the backbone of our communities," said Paul Foster, Chair of the Essex
CFDC. "Last year Essex CFDC provided over $1 million in loans to small
businesses in Essex County who created or maintained over 140 jobs. With the
additional support being provided through the federal government we can
continue to assist these businesses in revitalizing our economy."
    Recently, the Government of Canada proposed a five-point stimulus plan
for CFDCs in Ontario to improve access to capital for rural SMEs. The points
focus on:
    
    -  increased capitalization for additional loans;
    -  increased loan cap from $150 000 to $250 000 per loan;
    -  increased operating dollars (up to $100 000 per CFDC) to allow CFDCs
       to perform outreach and get more loans out, more quickly;
    -  enhanced partnerships with the Business Development Bank of Canada and
       other commercial lenders; and
    -  heightened awareness of CFDCs and the services they provide.
    

    CFDCs are community-based, not-for-profit organizations funded through
the Community Futures Program. They are run by boards of local volunteers and
are staffed by professionals who encourage entrepreneurship and the pursuit of
economic opportunities. CFDCs offer a variety of business and community
economic development services, including business planning and guidance,
access to capital, and strategic community planning.
    The CAF is just one in a series of initiatives introduced in Canada's
Economic Action Plan designed to address the short-term effects of the
economic decline on communities across Canada, while preparing our communities
for long-term growth.




For further information:

For further information: (media only), please contact Gary Toft,
Director of Communications, Office of the Honourable Gary Goodyear, Minister
of State (FedDev Ontario), (613) 943-7599; Media Relations: Industry Canada,
(613) 943-2502

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