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.”
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.
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.
Approved applications will be eligible for an advance based on approved project cash flow.
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
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.
Deadline for First Round of Applications
In order to meet presentation commitments for the committee meeting on February 5, 2020 all applications must meet this deadline.
Eligible projects include initiatives targeted to Indigenous, rural and remote communities and community-based projects designed to facilitate the transition of business to new owners or to develop new business opportunities; specifically, young entrepreneurs, Indigenous entrepreneurs, new Canadians, persons with disability, Francophones, or co-operative organizations.
Project activities will center on building resilient rural communities through community economic development projects that:
- Support immigration into rural communities
- Target initiatives for Indigenous, rural and remote communities
- Support business retention in rural communities
- Assist in mitigating the economic impact of transitioning business ownership between retiring entrepreneurs and new owners
- Involve multiple CF organizations and engage and leverage support from other community or service delivery partners that support target client groups such as women, Indigenous people, youth, Francophones, new Canadians, or persons with disability.
Eligible/Ineligible Project Costs
All proposed costs should demonstrate how they are essential to the implementation of the project and incremental to those expenditures incurred in the delivery of the Community Futures program as identified with Community Futures organization operational plans
Costs that are deemed unreasonable, and/or not directly related to project activities will be ineligible for reimbursement. These include, but may not be limited to:
- Cost incurred before project approval will not be eligible;
- Losses on investments, bad debts and associated expenses, other projects and contracts;
- Refinancing of existing debts;
- Provisions for contingencies or commissions paid to consultants to secure funding;
- Lobbying activities;
- Donations, dues and membership fees;
- Entertainment expenses as per treasury board guidelines.
Project Reporting Requirements
Applicants receiving ROF project funding approval are required to provide targets and at minimum, to report to the Community Futures Pan West Network as follows:
- Quarterly commencing within 10 business days of the end of the first quarter following approval and initial project funding disbursement.
- A final report will be submitted within 45 days of the agreed upon project end date. The final report will be required to include all of the above including the following performance indicators:
- Project Summary Lessons learned
- Project – Project framework and/or lessons learned transferred to other CFs or CED organizations
- Project – Budget to Actual reporting
- # of SMEs assisted: Refers to the number of small to medium enterprises that receive support or services through the project.
- # of businesses created, maintained or expanded: Refers to the number of businesses created, maintained or expanded as a result of this project.
- # of non-HQP jobs created: Refers to the number of jobs that are not considered highly qualified personnel (HQP).
- # of Indigenous-owned businesses expanded or maintained: Refers to the number of majority-owned Indigenous businesses that are maintained and/or grown as a result of support or services provided through the project.
- # of female-owned businesses expanded or maintained: Refers to the number of businesses that are majority-owned by women and are sustained or grown as a result of support or services provided through this project.
- # of youth-owned businesses expanded or maintained: Refers to the number of businesses that are majority-owned by youth and are sustained or grown as a result of support or services provided through this project.
- # of persons with disability-owned businesses expanded or maintained: Refers to the number of businesses that are majority-owned by persons with disability and are sustained or grown as a result of support or services provided through this project.
- # of new Canadian-owned businesses expanded or maintained: Refers to the number of businesses that are majority-owned by new Canadians and are sustained or grown as a result of support or services provided through this project.
- # of co-operatives assisted: Refers to a legally incorporated corporation that is owned by an association of persons seeking to satisfy common needs such as access to products or services, sale of their products or services, or employment.
- # of new Canadian clients assisted: Newcomers to Canada who have established residential ties with Canada may be: protected persons (including refugees) within the meaning of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. People who have applied for or received permanent resident status from Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.
For more information
Community Futures offices have two easy ways to apply to the Rural Opportunities Fund – online or via email. Upon completion, online applications will be sent directly to the project coordinator at Community Futures Pan West. You can also print off the application form, fill it in, scan and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions about the program or need support filling out the application, email Brenda Samborski, Project Coordinator email@example.com or call 1-866-453-2998.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q – What is the intake start date and deadline to apply?
A – Application intake starts Oct 31, 2019 and continuous intake thereafter until Jan 15, 2022
Q – Is there preference given to projects that are new?
A – There is no preference for new projects. For existing programs, the application needs to show expansion or a new phase be introduced and incremental benefits need to be shown.
Q – Can one CF office submit multiple applications?
A – Yes
Q – What is the approval process?
A – Once a completed application is submitted and a recommendation report is generated, it is then put forward to the committee for review, discussion, and potential approval.
The Rural Opportunities Fund (ROF) Committee will review the project assessments and recommendations and make the final decisions on which are to be funded. Community Futures Pan West Network will then enter into funding agreements with the approved proponents.
Rural Opportunities Fund (ROF) membership (total of 8 voting members) is proposed to be:
- Community Futures Pan West Network Inc. Board of Directors (comprised of 4 volunteers; one from each provincial association)
- One additional CF volunteer board member appointed by each provincial association
- WD representative; ex-officio
- Community Futures Pan West Network Executive Director; ex-officio
- Provincial association Executive Directors; ex-officio resources to the ROF
Q – How often are applications reviewed?
A – On an ongoing basis