Businesses in Oxford County have received a total of $1,399,000 to mitigate COVID-19 impacts.
(Ingersoll, ON) Small businesses are at the heart of our economy and many are vital to this community and the COVID-19 pandemic has caused uncertainty for businesses and their employees. Since May 2020, $436.4 million has been made available under the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund to southern Ontario businesses through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), including $83.3 million in targeted rural support delivered by Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs).
Since then, Community Futures Oxford provided $1,399,000 in liquidity support to help 34 impacted by the pandemic to cover fixed operating costs and maintain 60 jobs plus 100 seasonal jobs. The funding is making a difference in Oxford County by providing businesses the support they need to navigate the uncertainty of the pandemic while finding ways to grow for the future.
For example, the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund was able to support small businesses like Udderly Ridiculous, majority owned by CEO Cheryl Haskett. Udderly Ridiculous uses goat dairy produced on her husband’s fourth-generation family farm in Bright, Ontario to craft a high quality, lactose free ice cream. After just one year in business, the pandemic made it impossible to use the normal channels for getting a new product on grocery store shelves: large events where customers could taste test and food conventions where grocery store buyers learn about new products on the market. With funding from the RRRF, Udderly Ridculous was able to pivot and focus on small, independent wholesalers and markets while also looking to the future sustainability of her business. In late 2020, Cheryl was a finalist in the Ontario Tourism Innovation Lab’s Spark program giving her the mentorship and resources to develop an on-farm experiential tourism product as a new revenue stream for Udderly Ridculous.
To recognize the resiliency of businesses in the most heavily impacted industries such as tourism, food, hospitality and mainstreet Community Futures Oxford will be hosting a live virtual premier video series on March 31st at noon. The videos feature three local businesses including Udderly Ridculous, 1909 Culinary Academy and Highlander Studios who will graciously share their experiences. The community is invited to join the virtual premier by using this link.
“Community Futures Oxford has worked diligently to connect our local businesses with the support and resources they need to weather this pandemic. We are grateful for the opportunity to deliver the RRRF program in Oxford County while also recognizing the resilience of our business community. We wish to thank businesses for their ongoing efforts to keep the community safe while they work hard to keep their businesses and our local economy moving.”
-Allan Simm, General Manager, Community Futures Oxford
“The CFDC supported us when we were looking to expand, then COVID hit and we were able to utilize those funds to not only stay in business, but pivot for the future. The team has been incredible to work with and understand not just small business and entrepreneurs, but also the region and the diverse opportunities that can come out of it with a bit of support.”
-Cheryl Haskett, Founder, Udderly Ridiculous Inc.
“We launched the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund at a time when the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic was sky-high. We knew that Community Futures Development Corporations were in a unique position to help deliver this fund using their local expertise. Now, we are seeing the targeted results of that support, thanks to CFDCs supporting rural businesses and entrepreneurs during these challenging times. We want Canadians to know, we were there for you then, and we will be there for you in the months to come as we work together to come back even stronger.”
–The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario
“The businesses, workers and organizations in southern Ontario’s rural communities are a significant part of our region’s economic strength. We know they have faced challenges as a result of the pandemic and it is reassuring to see that the local support that our CFDCs have delivered through the RRRF is making a difference for many of them.”
– Marie-France Lalonde, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages (FedDev Ontario and Official Languages)
- CFDCs deliver a wide variety of programs and services to support community economic development and small business growth. They employ local staff and are each governed by a volunteer board of directors, made up of local residents representing the community.
- Community Futures Oxford has been serving small businesses in Oxford County since 1993.
- In southern Ontario, FedDev Ontario is supporting local businesses and organizations, saving tens of thousands of jobs through over $436 million in RRRF funding.