With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing well into 2021, the Township of South Frontenac has partnered with Frontenac Business Services (formerly Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation), to provide targeted relief and recovery funding aimed at assisting small businesses as they adapt to meet evolving consumer demands.
“Following an extremely tough year for all residents and organizations in South Frontenac, Council wanted to provide targeted support to those most in need, which includes our local businesses,” said Mayor Ron Vandewal. “It is our hope that offering financial support to small businesses will help them to adapt and recover during and following the pandemic, to help them remain competitive, to grow and to continue providing important services to our residents.”
Council made the decision to allocate $250,000 in its 2021 operating budget for targeted COVID-19 relief and recovery programs within the community. The township said these funds will be distributed through three overarching program streams; support for not-for-profits and other community groups, targeted program funding through Southern Frontenac Community Services, and small business modernization and PPE support through Frontenac Business Services, a Community Futures Development Corporation.
With $60,000 of those $250,000 set aside by the Township for Small Business Support, Frontenac Business Services will be administering a grant program which provides up to $2,500 to qualifying South Frontenac businesses on a 50/50 cost share basis to purchase and adopt digital tools, technologies and equipment that will enable small businesses to modernize or pivot for greater success during and after the pandemic, according to a release from South Frontenac Township, dated Thursday, Apr. 22, 2021. The funding program will also support up to 50 per cent of training and PPE costs incurred by businesses during the pandemic.
“Township staff have been working with local agencies to identify the best way to get this funding into the hands of those most adversely affected by the pandemic,” explained Neil Carbone, Chief Administrative Officer for the Township of South Frontenac. “And when it comes to business in South Frontenac, Anne Prichard and her team at Frontenac Business Services have the expertise needed to ensure dollars get to where they are needed most.”
In order to be eligible, businesses must be located in South Frontenac as of March 1, 2020, and submit a completed application to Frontenac Business Services. The minimum project size is $2,000 ($1,000 refundable) to a maximum of $5,000 ($2,500 refundable), according to the release. The township said eligible modernization costs must occur between January 1, 2021 and August 31, 2021 and may include, but are not limited to: the creation or redesign of a website to enable e-commerce, point of sales equipment, applicable software and installation (not monthly fees), internet installation or related hardware, customer attraction strategies, financial and debt management services, business advisory and coaching, or other digital and technical services.
In addition to funding for modernization initiatives, the township said small businesses in South Frontenac can also apply for reimbursement related to personal protective equipment (PPE). Eligibility for PPE costs are for the period from March 17, 2020, to August 31, 2021, and include anything from personal protective equipment and sanitizer, to thermometers, signage, and the installation of physical changes or improved ventilation.
“While there have been other provincial funding opportunities for small businesses in the last year, this program will permit Frontenac Business Services to provide assistance on a local basis, and to some of those small businesses which may not have been eligible for past programs due to their size,” said Anne Prichard, Executive Director for Frontenac Business Services. “This program will allow us to work with South Frontenac entrepreneurs to determine where dollars can be stretched to provide the most value to their business and to introduce online and other modernized business models, because at the end of the day our goal is to give targeted attention to these businesses so that they can succeed under the new conditions and evolving consumer habits that have resulted from the pandemic.”
Business owners interested in learning more about the program can visit https://frontenacbusiness.ca/ or contact Anne Prichard and her team at Frontenac Business Services via phone 1-888-372-9962 or via email [email protected]. Applications will be approved on a first come, first served basis while funding permits.