The Community Futures East Kootenay office will begin accepting scheduled appointments with existing clients on June 1. Unfortunately, walk-in visits will continue to be prohibited until further notice. The health and safety of our staff and their families remains our first priority as we support re-opening BC’s economy.
On March 20, CFEK launched our Emergency Payment Relief Program for existing clients and our Emergency Loan Program to support small businesses and entrepreneurs in our communities. We are very proud of our ability to provide rapid and comprehensive financial support to businesses throughout CFEK’s entire service area as details of the pandemic response were still emerging.
On April 9 the Government of Canada introduced the $40,000 Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA), available through banks and credit unions, and have since expanded the program to ensure that more businesses qualify.
On May 13 Western Economic Diversification announced the Regional Relief & Recovery Fund (RRRF), available in part through the Community Futures network in Western Canada. This program provides Community Futures offices additional resources to make loans of up to $40,000 available to small businesses and entrepreneurs that have been adversely impacted by COVID-19 in rural communities. These loans will have a forgivable component (25%), as well as terms and conditions similar to CEBA. Businesses will have the choice to apply for CEBA or RRRF but not both.
The infrastructure required for CFEK to begin delivering this important new program is just about complete and we anticipate being able to begin accepting applications very soon. In the meantime, we encourage you to revisit the CEBA program with your financial institution to explore your options under the expanded criteria announced on May 19th.
The COVID 19 pandemic is currently affecting every community, industry and business in Canada. Community Futures offices across Canada have been working to develop and implement strategies to help entrepreneurs and small businesses cope with impacts of market disruption, business closures, travel interruptions and the need for social distancing in their communities.
Community Futures East Kootenay is taking two immediate steps to provide assistance to entrepreneurs and small businesses in our service area.
First, we are providing a 3-month Payment Relief Program for all of our current clients. CFEK is suspending interest and waiving fees until June 30, 2020 so that our clients have one less thing to worry about. We are reaching out directly to each of our existing clients with this offer.
Second, Community Futures East Kootenay is offering a special repayable term loan product. This emergency credit facility is aimed at helping entrepreneurs and small businesses remain operational and/or cope with lost business during this exceptional time. Existing businesses in our service area are eligible to apply for an emergency loan of up to $20,000 with limited security requirements, pragmatic terms and conditions, and a rapid response time. We are also continuing to offer all of our regular term loan options.
We recognize that the businesses in our communities are vital and that they are vulnerable to the inescapable economic effects of this pandemic. We are working with our partners, including all levels of government, Chambers of Commerce, business associations and other service providers, to respond to the evolving and growing needs of our business community.