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20 years of North Island success

Staffers David Mitchell and Lawrie Garrett grill and serve lunch to Hiltje and David Ramsay during Community Futures Mount Waddington’s open house and barbecue fundraiser for the Gazette Hamper Fund, held in October.  - Photo by J.R. Rardon
Staffers David Mitchell and Lawrie Garrett grill and serve lunch to Hiltje and David Ramsay during Community Futures Mount Waddington’s open house and barbecue fundraiser for the Gazette Hamper Fund, held in October.
— image credit: Photo by J.R. Rardon

“Who are those guys?”

That’s the question asked by Butch Cassidy to the Sundance Kid as they were fleeing from Sheriff Joe Lefors and his posse, in the 1969 movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.  It’s also a question staff at Community Futures Mount Waddington (CFMW) hear on a regular basis. They are continually suprised when, despite CFMW’s 20-year history serving the North Island, people often ask, “who are you and what do you do?”

Community Futures is part of a national economic development program, administered by Western Economic Diversification Canada that has been supporting small business and community economic development since 1986. CFMW was established in 1992.

Over the past four years on the North Island it has averaged $1 million in loans annually.  Those loan funds have helped create or maintain more than 500 jobs in the region.

CFMW can point to a number of highly successful clients that have been faithful customers like Keltic Seafoods, Hardy Buoys Smoked Fish and Seto’s Wok and Grill, who have worked closely with the organization from start-up through expansion.

“The loan from CFMW was unquestionably the most pivotal part of our financing to be able to proceed with the acquisition,” said Mickey Flanagan, CEO of Keltic Seafoods Ltd. in Port Hardy.

CFMW loans go to businesses in every corner of the region. More than 40 per cent of funds lent go to business start or expansion in Port Hardy. Another 35 per cent goes to Port McNeill. The remaining 25 per cent is spread throughout the region in Port Alice, Alert Bay, Sointula, Zeballos, Woss, Coal Harbour and more.

Clients also reflect a wide range of sectors in the North Island economy, from fishing and forestry to tourism, services and retail.

CFMW offers a wealth of services for small businesses in the region. Whether you’re thinking of starting your own business or growing your current business, it can provide advice, resources, business training and coaching.

If you’re an entrepreneur – or want to become one – its staff can help.

Small business start-up and loans are the cornerstone of CFMW’s business, but it does other things as well.

For example, it creates partnerships with the municipalities, the Regional District and First Nations to plan and implement community economic development projects throughout the region. Between 2009 and today more than $3 million has been funneled into local community economic development projects.

Community Futures will continue to play a role in economic and business development in the Mt. Waddington region. Its doors are open.

You can reach Community Futures Mount Waddington at 250-956-2220, online at www.cfmw.ca, or or through its Facebook site.

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