Small businesses are vital as the backbone of our rural. To support businesses through the coronavirus crisis, Valley Heartland Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) acted quickly to help local businesses weather the pandemic’s stress and cash flow challenges and to keep funds circulating in the local economy when it was needed most.
On March 16, Valley Heartland reduced lending rates and launched a Resiliency Micro-Loan Program with funds from their Community Investment Fund. In two months, 28 businesses across Lanark County and North Leeds received emergency support funding through this program.
On May 13, the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development, and Official Languages announced that southern Ontario businesses could apply for the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). With $962 million nationally, $287 million was available to support rural businesses with access to capital through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDC).
As a CFDC, Valley Heartland provided financial contributions (interest-free loans) to help support fixed operating costs of business where revenues have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Through this program, 27 local businesses received support.
In total, Valley Heartland has provided $1,704,888.00 in funds to businesses in Lanark County and North Leeds to respond to the COVID pandemic between March and June.