Nottawasaga Futures is a community economic development organization connected to hundreds of community events and projects that aim to help businesses in Simcoe County, offering many services from business loans to a wide range of support with professional advisors.
The agency has partnered up with the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury, the Town of Innisfil, and the Town of New Tecumseth to offer new and exciting programs that seek to aid local business from the effects of COVID.
Understanding the impacts the current pandemic has had on so many businesses is key to learning how Nottawasaga Futures can better support them. As such, Nottawasaga Future’s CEO Martin Kuzma shared with BradfordToday the new programs available to local businesses that could help owners in their recovery process.
Nottawasaga Futures is now offering up to five (free) hours of confidential support sessions with a mental-health professional, available for any entrepreneurs or business owners in the Simcoe County area. “Peace of Mind” Therapy Services will help business owners refocus from the stress of downsizing, layoffs, pay cuts, or any financial or mental hardships they may have experienced during COVID.
“We are pleased to collaborate with our partners in South Simcoe on this sorely needed program," shares Kuzma. “Accessible mental-health supports are critical for business owners and entrepreneurs”.
The program is offered over the next 12 months with the possibility of an extension if needed.
Nottawasaga Futures continues to offer its consulting programs (funded by the town) for businesses requiring assistance with accounting, bookkeeping, wage subsidy, Human Resources, or legal, and can offer assistance filling out applications of any kind. This service is free to businesses in the Simcoe County area.
The agency’s Incubator Program has opened additional spaces dedicated to small business to help them grow. Free office space is provided for a maximum of two years with support from coaches and access to Wi-Fi and printing.
“This program gets [business owners] to a place where they are viable to get out in the world without these supports in place,” notes Kuzma, adding that one of their clients recently graduated from the program and now has his own office where he practices law.
For businesses planning to buy or sell in the next few years, Nottawasaga Futures offers a Business Transition Matching Program which connects buyers and sellers and provides information and training through both transitions.
“It’s a great program because it can advise business owners on what things to consider,” adds Kuzma.
In addition to these programs offered at the agency, Nottawasaga Futures will be launching a Business Plan Competition in October for anyone under the age of 29. Young entrepreneurs will have the chance to submit a viable business plan identifying a business they would like to launch. A panel of judges made up of community leaders from five different municipalities will choose one business idea to receive the “Junior Entrepreneurship Award” with a $500 cash prize included (donated by RBC).
Nottawasaga Futures continues to offer funding through Canada United Small Business Relief to help businesses with COVID-recovery and offers support with PPE, reopening, and reconfiguring space to accommodate social distancing in compliance with new regulations.
For women in business, the agency has also partnered with PARO Peer Lending Circles, a women’s micro-loan program which grants loans ranging from $500-$5000.
Stay up to date with Nottawasaga Futures’ programs and upcoming “Pitch Night” event through their website: www.nottawasaga.com