Small businesses and non-profit organizations can now receive lending for through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), administered by the Community Foundation of North Okanagan through Western Economic Diversification Canada .(Black Press file photo)

New relief fund aims to help North Okanagan small business and non-profits

The Regional Relief and Recovery Fund will be administered by the Community Foundation of North OK

The rent while doors were closed. The cleaning supplies and spoiled inventory. The fees to create an online store.

These are just some of the COVID-19 operating expenses some small businesses and non-profit organizations can now receive lending for through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF).

“This is a fund for non-profits and all the other businesses that may have fallen through the cracks and not qualified for the federal government’s wage subsidy or Canada Emergency Business Account,” said Michele Hill, chair of the board of directors for Community Futures North Okanagan, which will be administering the fund for Western Economic Diversification Canada.

CFNO is now accepting applications.

The federal fund provides loans of up to $40,000 to non-profits and small- and medium-sized businesses located in non-metropolitan areas that were negatively impacted by COVID-19, and have costs that have not been covered by other COVID-19 supports.

Expenses incurred during this period that are eligible include lease payments, rent, salaries and benefits, property taxes, utilities, bank charges and interest, office supplies, vehicle supplies and more.

“This funding will go such a long way to help cover some pretty big expenses incurred at a time when many of these businesses and organizations were seeing just a fraction of their normal revenue,” business services manager Kazia Mullin said. “It could be a lifeline for the many non-profits and small and family-owned businesses that didn’t meet criteria for other government supports.”

Early COVID-19 federal lending assistance programs had requirements that excluded sole proprietor businesses and businesses without staff or a certain annual payroll minimum, and this is the first federal lending program to include non-profits.

Scot McNair, business loans advisor at CFNO, is looking forward to helping local organizations and “mom and pop” stores get back on their feet.

“The RRRF really targets many of those family businesses as well as non-profits that are a big part of our community, and we’re glad to be able to bring them this support,” McNair said, encouraging businesses to apply soon as they are expecting many applications and the RRRF funds for each community are limited.

The RRRF repayment terms include no interest and no payments through to Dec. 31, 2022.

If 75 per cent of the loan is repaid by Dec. 31, 2022, the remainder is forgiven. Payments begin January 2023 and loans must be repaid by Dec. 31, 2025 and there are no prepayment penalties.

To learn more about the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, and to apply, visit futuresbc.com.

For more information, call McNair at ­­­­250-545-2215 Ext. 249.

READ MORE: Community Foundation of North Okanagan making impact



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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