Rural Opportunities Fund

Image

Application approval process and methodology

The purpose of the Rural Opportunities Fund Project is to support project activities that will centre on “building resilient rural communities through community economic development projects that support immigration into rural communities and targeted initiatives for Indigenous, rural and remote communities. The project will also support business retention in rural communities and assist in mitigating the economic impact of transitioning business ownership between retiring entrepreneurs and new owners.

Additional funding is now available to assist CFs to develop and implement local solutions to local community challenges related to COVID-19 Relief.

The goal of the project is to develop innovative strategies and solutions to assist rural communities face the challenges posed by business transitions. The resulting initiatives would be expected to promote, support and/or facilitate the transition of rural business ownership to young entrepreneurs, Indigenous entrepreneurs, new Canadians and co-operatives; or generate new business opportunities and would likely include the engagement of other community partners.

The goal of the COVID-19 relief fund is to develop and implement local solutions to address community challenges related to COVID-19 Relief.

Community Futures Pan West Network invites western Canadian Community Futures organizations (CF) to apply for funding support under the project.

CFs may apply for the Rural Opportunities Fund Project funding for projects ranging from minimum project funding of $25,000 to a maximum project funding of $300,000.

Depending on volume of applications received, funding requested on an application may not be the amount approved.

Preference will be given to applications demonstrating the following criteria:

  • Projects that involve multiple CF organizations.
  • Projects that demonstrate the engagement of and leveraged support from other community or service delivery partners.
  • Projects that support target client groups such as Indigenous people, women, youth, Francophones, new Canadians, persons with disability or co-operatives.
  • Projects that demonstrate CF investment or externally leveraged funds towards the project.
  • Projects that build a business case demonstrating community need and how the project addresses community economic development and business succession needs in the community, communities, region or group of regions.
  • Projects that build a business case to develop and implement local solutions to address community challenges related to COVID-19 Relief.

Approved applications will be eligible for an advance based on approved project cash flow.

  1. All approved funding received under the ROF Business Retention and Succession Project must be spent by March 31, 2022 or as specified on the Rural Opportunities Fund Project approval agreement.  There will not be any extensions past this date.
  2. All approved funding received under the additional ROF COVID-19 Relief Project must be spent by March 31, 2021 and all related activities must be completed by that date. Projects may end later than March 31, 2021, but no WD ROF COVID-19 Relief funding would be available for costs incurred after March 31, 2021. If a CF has other leveraged dollars or other sources of funding for the project, that could be used to sustain the project after March 31, 2021.

All approved funding received under the Rural Opportunities Fund Project must be spent by March 31, 2022 or as specified on the Rural Opportunities Fund Project approval agreement. There will not be any extensions past this date.

Projects can be multi-year but must be completed by the deadline as listed on the Rural Opportunities Fund Project approval agreement.

Rural Opportunities Fund Project

Preamble

Through the Rural Opportunities Fund, western Canada’s Community Futures organizations will have more resources to help businesses in their communities.

In Canada, the population is aging, and many small business owners are interested in retiring and exiting their business. The Business Development Bank of Canada states in a 2017 survey of over 2,500 Canadian entrepreneurs that 41% of those entrepreneurs expected to exit their business in the next five years without acquiring another, and 78% of business sellers expected to either transfer the business to a younger family member (26%) or sell the business outside the family (52%).

The Rural Opportunities Fund Project provides for approval of eligible projects ranging from a minimum project funding of $25,000 to a maximum project funding of $300,000; with preference given to projects that:

  • Involve multiple Community Futures organizations;
  • Engage and leverage support from other community or service delivery partners;
  • Support target client groups such as women, Indigenous people, youth, Francophones, new Canadians, persons with disability, or co-operatives.

With local/regional CF knowledge of local economies and CF commitment to grassroots strengthening of rural communities through the process of community economic development (CED), CF organizations are ideally positioned to develop strategies and initiatives to help these target client groups develop new business opportunities and to help their communities through the challenges to community resiliency posed by business transitions.