Solidarity Fund QFL Invests $46 Million in Local Economic Development

QUÉBEC, Sept. 23 /CNW Telbec/ - In light of the success of the 87 SOLIDE (local economic development corporations), which have helped create thousands of jobs with the $30 million invested since their creation in 1991, the Solidarity Fund QFL (the "Fund") is proud to announce, together with its partner, the Fédération Québécoise des Municipalités (FQM), an injection of another $46 million in development capital aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises in Québec's Regional county municipalities (RCMs) and localities.

"Through its network, the Fund is present in all the regions of Québec and plays a key role in local economic development by encouraging entrepreneurship and making it easier for SMEs to secure financing at all stages of their development, from start-up to large growth projects," said René Roy, secretary of the Fund's Board of Directors, general secretary of the QFL, and head of regional matters. "Since its creation, the SOLIDE network has proven to be a powerful financial leverage, helping create or maintain over 21,000 jobs across Québec. We are extremely proud of this performance and are therefore renewing our commitment."

For his part, FQM president Bernard Généreux says, "Today's announcement shows beyond a doubt that our communities are at work. The local development centres (CLD), which manage the SOLIDE's portfolios and which are the RCMs' economic development tool, will now be able to increase the number of projects across the territory while making sure the investments are coherent with local planning. This is a concrete gesture that will set the stage for the FQM's 2009 Congress, opening tomorrow under the theme Our municipalities at the heart of the economic recovery."

More financing available

"With this new investment, the financing available for each SOLIDE increases from $500,000 to $1 million, while the maximum investment for each SME project goes up from $50,000 to $100,000. These two measures will allow the SOLIDE to back an even greater number of projects. What's more, the service sector will now be eligible, depending on the local development priorities set by each CLD. For instance, retail and the social economy will join the other eligible sectors: primary, manufacturing and propulsive service industries, including tourism," stated Jean-René Laforest, general manager of SOLIDEQ, limited partnership to which the funds will be disbursed and whose mission is to invest in the SOLIDE.

These new investment measures have already produced highly promising results in pilot projects carried out in seven RCMs.

About SOLIDEQ

SOLIDEQ is a limited partnership formed in 1991 with the Solidarity Fund QFL and the Fédération Québécoise des Municipalités (FQM). Its mission is to invest in the SOLIDE (sociétés locales d'investissement dans le développement de l'emploi) to help them encourage and support entrepreneurship, job creation and the development of the local economy.

About the Fédération Québécoise des Municipalités

Founded in 1944, the Fédération Québécoise des Municipalités (FQM) has established itself as a credible player and the voice of Québec's municipalities and regions thanks to its actions, which demonstrate a steadfast commitment to defending municipal autonomy and furthering the development of Québec's regions. With a membership of over 1,000 local municipalities and RCMs, the Fédération is backed by 7,000 elected officials. Its decision-making and consultative structures, including its Board of Directors, five permanent commissions and CMA assembly, enable the FQM to take positions aimed at ensuring Québec is developed in a sustainable manner.

About the Solidarity Fund QFL

With net assets of $6.4 billion as at May 31, 2009, the Solidarity Fund QFL is a development capital company that through its RRSP channels the savings of Quebecers into investments in all sectors of the economy to help create and maintain jobs and to further Québec's economic growth. The Fund is a partner, either directly or through its network members, in 2,000 companies. It currently has nearly 571,000 shareholders and has helped, on its own or with other financial partners, to create, maintain and protect nearly 143,000 jobs. For more information, visit www.fondsftq.com.

SOURCE Fonds de solidarité FTQ

For further information: For further information: Note: The telephone number provided below is for the exclusive use of journalists and other media; Josée Lagacé, Senior Advisor, Press Relations and Communications, Fonds de solidarité FTQ, (514) 850-4835, jlagace@fondsftq.com; Dany Rousseau, Director of Communications, Fédération Québécoise des Municipalités, (418) 651-3343, Sans frais: 1-866-951-3343, Cellulaire: (418) 955-7001


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