The program that has helped so many businesses in the area get started, Community Futures East Kootenay (CFEK), has suffered some cutbacks, but director for the Golden area, Isabelle Simard wants people to know they haven’t gone away.
“The self-employment program that has always been based out of Cranbrook for people who want to start a business has been centralized to some unknown direction for the valley,” said Simard.
“So now we’re losing that aspect of Community Futures which has always been a big funder for this society. So as a result three or four staff have been eliminated, but we’re still there, and we’re not folding.”
CFEK is a non-profit enterprise (part of a network of 269 Community Futures organizations across Canada), that helps people start or expand in business. CFEK aims to promote local, community based economic development through partnerships and initiatives, as well as the delivery of business loans, business training and counselling, and other related services. Simard received help from Community Futures when she started her own business, and she wants to make sure entrepreneurs in Golden know what is available to them. “There are still loans available for small businesses. As a matter of fact, they have all this money available, and nobody borrowing it. So if you have a business, or know someone with a good plan who needs a loan and is not able to access one through a bank, Community Futures is there for that reason. And if they don’t lend that money out, and they don’t earn any interest, we’ll fold for sure,” she said.
“I started my business that way, there’s a lot of businesses in this community that have been started with Community Futures and that are supported through Community Futures. It would be a shame to lose it. I want to keep it going.”
The current economy has reduced the number of people wanting to start businesses, or expand them says Simard. People are a little tentative and scared. But that is why she wants people to know that these funds are there.
“Self employment is tough, and very few people make it in the long haul. But help from CFEK makes it so much easier to start and be successful.”
For more information on CFEK programs and how to apply for them, go to www.cfek.ca.