Friday, 16 February 2018 06:11

Lethbridge County develops new partnership

Written by  Demi Knight
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Community Futures have recently partnered with the County of Lethbridge to bring the Business Improvement Loan Program to rural communities outside of the city.


Having already partnered with six other communities including the City of Lethbridge itself, Coalhurst, Coaldale, Picture Butte and Raymond to bring this new approach to business loans to the forefront, the County of Lethbridge is the most recent municipality whom have decided to get in on the action.
“We have seen the huge impact that this loan program has made,” says General Manager with Community Future’s Lethbridge Region, Darlene Sinclair. “It’s an amazing program that municipalities are willing to invest in, to help businesses within the area flourish as well as keeping economic development alive in their respective communities.”
The Business Improvement Loan Program, which has been implemented in six communities so far with the recent addition of Lethbridge County, is a program that works to offer businesses the opportunity of improvements and upgrades at a low cost with interest free loans of up to $10,000.
Designed to help local economies flourish, the loan program helps businesses that sometimes banks avoid, explains Sinclair.
With this program, the municipality itself agree to pay the interest on the loans given out within their communities.
With over 100 Community Futures’ business improvement loans have being written so far, Sinclair added that the program has been able to help businesses achieve outstanding success.
“We’ve written 76 loans for businesses in the downtown core in Lethbridge alone,” says Sinclair. “People have really invested in their store fronts and given the face of their brand a fresh look, and it’s really easy to see downtown how big of an impact it’s already had.”
The program which focuses on helping businesses improve certain aspects of their productions allows eligibility for all those to apply that are looking to improve or upgrade everything from business equipment, information technology and signage, to point of sale systems, energy efficiency, landscaping and more.
However, it isn’t only the loan that this program can offer but also extra services such as helping create business plans, counselling and consultations at no added fee, which comes as a large advantage for smaller or start-up companies to explore alongside the loan.
“This loan program is great for people looking to invest in their business as they have access to capital that’s interest free,” says Sinclair.
“It’s a $10,000 loan that the County pays interest on and is financed over three years, with small payments less than $300 a month — which is great because anything that will help you do your job better is a win-win.”
With such a great loan advancement program in place, County of Lethbridge administrators couldn’t be more excited about their new partnership.
“We are very happy to be partnering with the Community Futures Lethbridge Region team to provide meaningful support to County businesses that are looking to grow and enhance their operations,” says Martin Ebel, Lethbridge County Economic Development Officer.
“This new program is a great example of regional cooperation and a win for everyone involved.”
The Community Futures Lethbridge Region is a non-profit organization staffed by business professionals and guided by a volunteer board of directors who work to run specialized business programs and events as well as offer management tools for new and existing businesses.
With the County of Lethbridge already being a shareholder within the organization, the decision to extend this new Business Improvement Loan Program was one that the municipality was excited to make.
Currently accepting applications, all businesses interested in applying for this new loan program within the area can do so by picking up loan application forms from the Lethbridge County office or at the Community Futures Lethbridge Region, or by downloading the forms online from www.lethbridgeregion.albertacf.com

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