By Vivian Collings
The Haliburton County Development Corporation (HCDC) has reason to be happy after meeting the goals of assisting local organizations and creating jobs to successfully give our community a boost, even through tough pandemic circumstances.
HCDC assisted 69 businesses in the past year which created or maintained 253 jobs.
“Receiving the most funding of any CFDC in Southern Ontario, HCDC continues to be the most active lender of the 61 CFDCs in the province of Ontario. This past year, we disbursed over $3.1 million in loans, claiming the largest investment fund valued at $21.3 million of the 267 Community Futures Development Corporations in Canada,” said HCDC’s chair Patrick Kennedy in his opening remarks at the annual general meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 4 at the Red Umbrella Inn in Minden.
He said HCDC staff responded to significant increases in service volumes in the past year.
They also provided business counseling to 118 individuals and provided 128 referrals to outside agencies.
HCDC’s mission is to “support economic development and encourage the development, implementation, and sustainability of initiatives that contribute to job creation, a resilient, vibrant community, and a healthy natural environment.”
In their community economic development sector, they assisted six organizations and involved 22 community partners and 105 volunteers.
“That leveraged $165,000 in the community through those strategic planning efforts,” said HCDC program and operations coordinator Heather Reid.
Their Local Initiatives Program supported 25 local not-for-profit projects by dispersing $86,500.
“HCDC is mandated by the federal government to provide loans to businesses, create jobs, business services, community strategic planning, and support community economic activities,” said executive director of HCDC Patti Tallman.
She said the government provides HCDC with an annual budget, and with that, they are able to carry out their lending activities, business services, workshops, and community economic development activities.
Tallman spoke about their business services. She explained they do much more than simply provide loans. “We not only provide loans to businesses, we provide free business counseling and deliver a range of activities through business counseling, entrepreneurial advice, cash flow forecasting, information services to businesses, social enterprises, not-for-profit organizations, and advice to anyone thinking of starting a business or not-for-profit organization,” Tallman said.
She said their investment fund is self-sustaining while earning interest over the past 37 years.
“These dollars are only used for the intended purposes of lending to businesses in Haliburton County.”
Reid addressed HCDC’s Community Economic Development Sector.
“This is really about finding not-for-profits and individuals with great ideas and helping them come to fruition. We do that through assisting organizations with strategic planning, organizational development,” she said.
They were able to help a not-for-profit business get their start this year.
Their Local Initiatives Program (LIP) is one of the biggest projects taken on by the Community Economic Development committee.
“Every year, we take our investment fund transfer, and we move that into community economic development, so we provide not-for-profits [through the LIP],” Reid said.
In the spring and summer of 2022, HCDC’s Business Incubator space had 41 meeting room bookings and 52 hot desk bookings.
The recently refreshed Business Incubator provides “affordable office space, broadband, mentoring, a meeting room, common room, and a co-working space,” Reid said.
Peter Smith and Dale Bull resigned from HCDC’s board of directors with Mark Bell and Tammy Rea taking their place.
Kennedy thanked both staff and the board for their efforts to make this year successful.
“I want to acknowledge our staff’s hard work, once again rising to the challenges in a professional, efficient manner. A great team needs a great leader who can keep a positive atmosphere in the workplace during busy, often chaotic and stressful times, and we have such a leader in our executive director Patti Tallman. On behalf of the entire board, thank you Patti and our awesome staff team very much for all your efforts.”