The Nechako-Kitamaat Development Fund Society announced this week that a new program has been added to its roster. The Business Loans Program will be offered in conjunction with area Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs). According to Society Chair, Dave Merz, of Fort Fraser, this program has been in the works for some time, " there are a good number of people who have been working diligently to bring this program to life, specifically our Community Futures partners, the Society Board and Honourable Paul Ramsey, Minister of Finance and Corporate relations, and Minister responsible for northern development."
In keeping with the Society’s mandate to promote sustainable economic development, the overall objective of the program is to support the establishment and expansion of small to medium sized businesses that benefit the Society investment area, help to diversify the economy, and create sustaining employment opportunities. The $15 million Northern Development Fund, to which both Alcan and the BC government each contributed $7.5 million, was created as a result of the BC-Alcan 1997 Agreement. The investment area for the Fund includes Vanderhoof, Fort Fraser, Nadleh Whut’en First Nation, Saik’uz First Nation, Cheslatta First Nation, as well as the settlements south of Grassy Plains in the Ootsa Lake area and Kitamaat Village.
Details for the program have been developed over the past year on the understanding that there is a need for more developmental loans funds in the area. Working with the CFDCs of Stuart-Nechako, Nadina and 16/37, the program will be operated on a joint loan basis. Approved loans up to a maximum of $75,000 from the Society funding pool will be matched by loans provided by participating CFDCs. The CFDCs will be responsible for supporting clients through the process of producing a viable business plan and meeting approval criteria.
According to Fiona Glass, Society Manager, a total of $989,500 in NKDFS funds will be available for this fiscal year, with a new business plan for next fiscal currently under development. "We anticipate that this program will produce further and significant benefits in our investment area", Glass said.
For more information on the Business Loans program or the Society’s grant programs, area residents are encouraged to call, toll free, 1 877 478 3863.
Interested parties are also encouraged to call the Community Futures office which services their area:
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Contact: Fiona Glass, Manager
(250) 877 6922
The Government of B.C. and Alcan Inc. each contributed $7.5 million to establish the Northern Development Fund in 1999. The investment income generated from this fund supports the NKDF grants program. Each partner has one representative serving on the board of directors. The NKDF is part of the portfolio of the Minister of Jobs, Trade and Technology.
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