Some small and medium sized businesses which have undergone financial strife during the pandemic have turned to government for help.
However, for some, the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) or Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP) haven’t helped these businesses have not fit the criteria. However
The changed May 13 as now rural businesses will be able to apply for loans of up to $40,000 from the $95.7 million earmarked for Western Canada through the Government of Canada’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF). The 90 Community Futures organizations in Western Canada including those in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba will administer this program on behalf of Western Economic Diversification Canada.
- Those businesses which quality include:
- • Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs) located in non-metropolitan regions (all areas served by Community Futures organizations) in Western Canada.
- • The SME must attest to their ineligibility for other federal government COVID-19 support programming such as the Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA) or the Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP)
- • The small business must have been viable and not experiencing any liquidity or other financial difficulties as of March 1, 2020.
- • The small business must have experienced a material adverse effect on business operations on or after March 1, 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- • Business established before March 1, 2020.
- • Be a sole proprietorship, partnership (except professional services), corporation, social enterprise, or other similar organization.
- • Operating expenses, payroll and other non-deferrable expenses which are critical to sustain business continuity.
According to a release, some loan highlights include: no interest accrual or principal payments through December 31, 2022; if 75% of loan is repaid by December 31, 2022, the remainder of the loan is forgiven; blended principal and interest payments beginning January 1, 2023. Loans must be repaid by December 31, 2025 and no prepayment penalties.
The RRRF is being set at $962 million nationally including $304.2 million for Western Canada.
It is good news for businesses trying to get back to status quo.
For Sean Blewett, General Manager at Community Futures Entre-Corp, it has been a busy time, even though it has not be the normal business as usual.
Through his Medicine Hat office, communities served are in Cypress County, County of Newell, County of 40 Mile and Redcliff. They have been busy.
“Through this pandemic our office has seen a significant increase in services to assist businesses in navigating through this difficult time,” explained Blewett. “This includes one on one business advisory via phone or video chat, information sharing, online training.”
Blewett also noted there are are also “focused immediate needs” such as government supports, human resources, Occupational Health and Safety; mental health supports; pivoting their businesses, social media marketing and other relevant sessions. These sessions can be found on Community Future’s website at http://entre-corp.albertacf.com/current-events as well as daily session's on the Facebook page - YXH Business Supports.
The Community Futures program is a volunteer-led initiative that has been providing funding and business resources to rural businesses and communities since 1985.
To put this RRRF COVID-19 effort into perspective, in 2019, Western Community Futures organizations provided 1,335 loans worth $72.6
million, in turn supporting over 3,700 jobs in rural communities.
In regards to the $287 illion to be disbursed through Community Futures nationally we are still waiting for exact details of the breakdowns however I can share with you the news release and fact sheet from this week which outline the parameters of the program (please see attached). Please note a separate online application portal is being developed for this portion of the funding which we expect to be operational soon, for now we are asking interested businesses to contact our office to leave their contact details and we will contact them as soon as our website is ready to accept applications.