| Oct 02, 2008

Oct 2/08 - Frontenac CFDC fulfills it's mission

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Feature Article - October 2, 2008 Frontenac CFDC fulfills it’s missionBy Julie Druker

Anne Pritchard, Kristin Bissonette, Liz Crothers, Sue Theriault and Dave Smith of the Frontenac CFDC.

Almost 70 people filled the Verona’s Lions Hall early Tuesday morning for breakfast and to attend Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation’s annual AGM, 40 more people than attended their first AGM 5 years ago. Perhaps it is a sign of the FCFDC’s success in supporting and growing local business in the Frontenacs and adhering to its mission statement of “building business and growing communities.”

Executive director Anne Prichard summarized some of the accomplishments of the organization this year. Fifty four projects were completed and a total of $880,000 in loans were dispersed and 38 new jobs were created.

Some of the local businesses who benefited this year included Nowell Motors in Cloyne, Frontenac Outfitters in Sydenham, and the communities of Sydenham, Verona and Wolfe Island for their inclusion in OMAFRA’s First Impressions Community Exchange program which recently began this year.

In the 4.5 years of its existence, the FCFDC has lent 3.5 million dollars to community businesses.

Prichard described the FCFDC’s Strategic Plan that has been developed for 2008-2011.Their two overall priorities include:

“to develop new year-round well-paid employment opportunities and

“to improve the visual appeal, range and local services and vitality of our small communities to enhance our rural lifestyles.

Broadband infrastructure, tourism, and environmental and agricultural projects will also be focused on..

The FCFDC’s online directory now includes over 300 local businesses and it receives over 225 hits per week.

Guest speakers included Shawn Gee of Ockham Communications and Nigel Maund of OmniGlobe, two companies that have both been closely involved with the FCFDC in bringing broadband services and high speed internet to northern communities and local businesses, a long time goal of the FCFDC since their inception.

Gee’s company received support from the FCFDC and is proof that the kind of support offered can really make a difference to small business in their initial start up.

Gee explained, “We are a local company that has identified a market need and a community need and the FCFDC had the foresight to acknowledge that there is a need and we have been able to act on it.”

He continued, “Over the last year we have been able to go from nothing… to having over 200 paying customers on our network.

Nigel Maund of OmniGlobe focused on his company’s work with helping to develop broadband services in the north and his continued plans to expand on this work. His company will be holding information sessions in the area this week.(see current ads)

Board member Christine Ward focused on the importance of the FCFDC board, their diversity and the various skills they have to offer. She also explained their focus this year on a campaign to advertise all of the volunteer opportunities that are available to those who might become want to become involved.

Near the meetings end, Linda Thomas, a life time resident of Frontenac County and a retired administrator at Queen’s University in Health Services and Policy Research was elected as the new Director of the board.

Congratulations Linda and it looks as though the FCFDC is well on its way to another exciting year focused on generating new business ventures and new business growth in the Frontenacs.

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