Aspiring entrepreneurs will be pleased to know that more money is now available to them thanks to a new partnership recently launched between the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (FCFDC) in Harrowsmith and Futurpreneur Canada.
On November 28, Lisa Boyer, the eastern Ontario business development manager with Futurpreneur, met with staff at the Frontenac CFDC to officially launch the new partnership, which will allow Futurpreneur to offer their loans and programs through the FCFDC, and in doing so will assist young local entrepreneurs to start, grow, and run their own businesses.
Boyer explained at the launch, “Basically we will be offering young entrepreneurs in the area our various entrepreneurial loans and programs, and staff at the FCFDC will be assisting by supplying applicants with the business plan building support and mentorship they need to become successful.”
Formerly known as the Canadian Youth Business Foundation (CYBF), Futurpreneur was started in 1996 and since then has funded over 7000 young entrepreneurs across Canada. They offer to young entrepreneurs aged 18-39 financing of up to $45,000 in character-based, low-interest loans made available from the Business Development Bank of Canada. They also assist them with mentoring and other business resources. “One of our biggest roles is to work with other community partners across Canada to help us support these young entrepreneurs,” Boyer said. FDFDC staff will also help to locate business mentors for the applicants from this area
Terry Romain, business development officer with the FCFDC, said, “The mentorship requirement is the added value here. In order for anyone to qualify for the funding through Futurpreneur they must have a mentor and part of Lisa's job is to match the applicant with a mentor in order to assist the new entrepreneur. The mentorship will go on for a full two years and will help new young business owners to become successful.”
Boyer said that the partnership will also help grow Futurpreneur's profile in the region. “Terry will help bring our programs to more people in this area which is also a huge benefit to us since the FCFDC is seeing the clients that we want to see but because of our huge catchment area we are often not able to connect with them.”
The benefit for the FCFDC, according to Romain, is that the partnership brings an additional pool of funding to young entrepreneurs in this area, which is great news for young people without capital who want to start a business. Romain stressed the importance of giving young entrepreneurs a boost. “One of the largest obstacles to anyone starting a business is getting access to capital. So this partnership will give young business entrepreneurs more opportunities.”
Anne Prichard, executive director of the FCFDC, said that the other benefit is that the two organizations will be able to share the risk. “If you have a young person starting up and they don't have the security for a particular loan, we together with Futurpreneur will be sharing the risk between us. We will also benefit from Futurpreneur promotions to target the youth in this area,” she said.
Young entrepreneurs will now see the Frontenac CFDC link on their website, www.futurpreneur.ca. Information about Futurpreneur programs and loans is also available on the FCFDC's website at www.frontenaccfdc.com. Any successful business owners in the area who would be willing to become a mentor with Futurpreneur can contact Terry Romain at 613-372-1414 ext 202 or toll free at 1-888-372-9962.
Staff at the Frontenac OPP detachment in Hartington launched their annual Festive RIDE (Reduce Impaired Driving Everywhere) program on November 24 and set up an inaugural RIDE stop in Harrowsmith to make drivers aware of the importance of driving sober and safe during the upcoming holiday season.
The program takes place across the province and on November 24 three staff members from the Frontenac OPP detachment in Hartington, Sergeant Jean James, and Constables Buff Chadwick and Roop Sandhu were pulling over drivers in front of St. Patrick's Catholic school in Harrowsmith for the first day of the drive, which will continue until January 2, 2015.
Staff Sergeant Sharron Brown, who spoke with press at the Hartington detachment, highlighted the aims of the program, which are primarily to focus on impaired driving but also to discourage and penalize aggressive and distracted drivers as well as those violating seat belt laws.
Sgt. Brown said that while impaired driving is down 40% from this same time last year, she believes that one impaired driver on the road is one too many. “It's heartening to see that people are getting the message that the only way to drive is to drive sober.” Community Services Officer, Constable Roop Sandhu, shared some statistics that show the fatalities resulting from impaired driving in Ontario were down from 72 in 2013 to 42 in 2014. Similarly, as of September 2014 a total of 5685 impaired driving charges were laid as compared to 6848 in that same period in 2013, a drop of 17 per cent.
While the number show improvements Sgt. Brown said that the best way to drive safe is to have a plan in place. “We at the Frontenac OPP wish everyone a safe and happy holiday season and for that to happen people need to ensure that they have a plan in place before they engage in any activities that may affect their ability to drive. They should arrange either to have a designated driver, plan to take a taxi or else make plans to stay the night,” she said. She also stressed the fact that "No amount of alcohol or drugs are a safe amount when it comes to operating a motor vehicle.”
Drivers who are found to be impaired at any of the RIDE stops, which will be taking place anywhere and at any hour, will be charged with a criminal offense and depending on the seriousness of the offense, will lose their license for a minimum of one year upon conviction. Sgt. Brown said that there have been numerous fatalities as a result of impaired driving during her 26 years on the force and she spoke of the huge ramifications of a serious accident. “In accidents that are the result of impaired driving, it is never just one single person who is involved and it is never an easy thing to have notify family members that one of their loved ones has been involved in this kind of an accident. Our goal through the Festive RIDE program is to make sure that everyone reaches their destinations safely during this holiday season.”
by the Verona and Sydenham District Lions
For the past two weeks, Lions volunteers from Sydenham and Verona have conducted the annual vision and hearing screening for approximately 200 senior kindergarten and grade one students at Harrowsmith, Loughborough, and Prince Charles public schools as well as at St. Patrick Catholic School in Harrowsmith
For young learners, it is critical that any vision and hearing problems are detected early before a child's performance at school is affected and that is why for the past seven years, the local Lions have conducted the screening program for the youngest students at the start of every school year. It is estimated that one in six children has a vision problem. The vision screening section consists of three stations that help identify children who have trouble seeing things at a distance, up close or who may have difficulty making both eyes focus together. The hearing section of the screening program is comprised of a sound test. The child wears headphones and is asked, at increasingly lower audio levels, to point to various pictures.
The results from both screening tests are sent home to the child’s parents/caregivers that same day. If the child's results fall below the prescribed level, a recommendation is also sent home asking that the child have a complete examination by a vision or hearing specialist. The screening results also remind parents that annual eye examinations are recommended and important for school-aged children and are covered by OHIP.
The vision and hearing screening program for senior kindergarten and grade one students is provided free by the local Lions Clubs and the expensive equipment used in the testing was purchased through the fund raising efforts of many local Lions clubs. At the start of every school year, local Lions clubs quickly circulate the equipment through more than 50 schools in the local and surroundings community in order to screen as many children as possible in the hopes of identifying as early as possible any vision or hearing problems.
While most of the Lions screening volunteers are retired, the younger Lions volunteers work hard to juggle their work and personal schedules so that they can be available for the school day screenings. Many volunteers are grandparents who themselves wear glasses and/or hearing aids and who have personal stories of struggling in school as a result of their own vision and hearing issues. They therefore understand first hand the importance of correcting any vision and hearing problems early so that local students can enjoy maximum learning and have basic everyday life enjoyment.
Pema Lama, a practicing Tibetan Buddhist and teacher from Nepal, visited students at local area schools last week. Students at Harrowsmith called the visit nothing short of “awesome”.
Pema Lama and his Canadian host, Leslie Myles, visited with grade four and five students at Harrowsmith Public School (HPS) on October 29. The day before they visited students at Loughborough Public School. Myles became acquainted with Pema during her numerous trips to Nepal and last year when she spoke to students at HPS about her trek to the Mount Everest base camp, she promised that she would return this year with a special visitor from Nepal. “The students knew that I would be returning with someone from Nepal and today they finally had a chance to meet him”, Myles said.
Pema Lama, who has been studying Buddhism with his great uncle since he was 7 years old as well as with other yoga and meditation masters, engaged and fascinated the students at HPS. His visit began with an introduction by Myles who spoke of Nepal, a country she became enamoured with years ago. She spoke of the capital city Kathmandu and its bustling population of 1 million people and of the smaller rural villages located high in the mountains, particularly the village of Mugu located near the Tibet border, which Pema Lama calls home. She spoke of the differences of village life compared to life here in Canada and of the many small mountain villages that have no roads, and where animals like yaks, donkeys and sheep share the many walking paths with the local villagers. She described the village farms and how the villagers live off of the produce they grow. There are very few schools, which are located many miles away and students spend often up to four hours a day walking to and from them.
Myles told the students, “It is very different there but also very beautiful too”. She then introduced Pema who told the students about his village, how he studied Buddhism in a cave with his great uncle. He explained the meaning of his name: “Pema means lotus flower and Lama translates to mean mother power or mother art.”
This was Pema's first ever visit to Canada and he spoke to the students of his respect for all people and all religions and explained to them how “even though people look different and speak different languages, we are all, in mind and heart, the same.” He took questions from the students, one of whom asked him about the shawl he was wearing. He explained that the shawl is an important part of his practice and it represents the wings that the freedom of his practice brings him. He also stressed the importance the practice places on positive rather than negative thoughts.
Following his talk he demonstrated some different yoga exercises, inviting the students to participate, and also later invited the students to join him on the floor to practice meditation.
Myles, who is the managing director of the Limestone Learning Foundation, together with Pema Lama has been involved in an international student dialogue called the Nepalese Global Connection, a pen pal program where students from the Limestone District School Board and the Shree Himalaya Primary School located in the Solu Khumbu region of Nepal have been writing letters back and forth. Pema also brought with him letters from the Nepalese students.
It was a memorable visit for the Harrowsmith students and for the school principal Valerie Arsenault. Arsenault stressed the importance of bringing visitors like Pema Lama to the school. “Visits like this one from Pema Lama bring the outside world to the students in a way that no technology can. This visit brings the wisdom and experience of other cultures and countries to the students and makes for an especially authentic learning experience.”
A special service on October 19 at St. Paul's United Church in Harrowsmith marked the 165th year that the church has been a gathering place of worship for the local community in and around Harrowsmith. Rev. Patsy Henry was joined by guest preacher, retired United Church minister Rev. Ian MacKay, in the special service that included songs of praise by the joint St. Paul's/Trinity United Church choir under the direction of music director Annabelle Twiddy. Rev. Ian MacKay, in his sermon titled “How Big is Our Church”, spoke of the 8580 Sunday services and sermons that have taken place at the church in its 165-year history, which he called “an altogether remarkable achievement.” He continued by addressing the congregation: “Your presence in this church building here in the centre of Harrowsmith continues to enrich community life and spiritual life and naturally I applaud you for that.”
Rev. MacKay in his final prayer thanked “all of those who in years past helped to establish this community and who had the vision to step forward to establish this church.” The service included a children's portion in which Sunday school teacher Marni Pedersen gathered with youngsters on the steps of the main sanctuary, and following the service, members of the congregation were invited to share a special meal in the community hall.
Rev. Patsy Henry, who has been the minister at the Harrowsmith-Verona Pastoral Charge for the last three years, said she felt it was “important to celebrate the contributions of the people that we did not know but who paved the way for our welfare, as well as looking ahead to caring for a community that will come long after us.”
With that in mind it was noted that many youngsters attended the special service and Rev. Henry said that the youngsters always bring “a certain kind of energy and joy to the celebrations”.
Phase II of the Frontenac K&P Trail, from Harrowsmith to the north end of Verona, will officially open on Saturday, August 9.
The public is invited to join representatives from the Government of Ontario, Trans-Canada Trail and Frontenac County for an official opening ceremony at 1:30p.m., followed by light refreshments and free horse-drawn wagon rides along the trail.
“This stretch of the Frontenac K&P Trail cuts through a beautiful area of the Frontenacs,” says Bud Clayton, Warden of the County of Frontenac. “Heading north from Harrowsmith, users venture through agricultural land, wooded areas, rock cuts, and wetlands before coming to the Hardwood Creek Bridge and its beautiful views, then on through the village of Verona.”
This official opening will celebrate the redevelopment of Phase II, which was completed in 2013, in part due to funding received through the Trans-Canada Trail (TCT) and the Government of Ontario through the Pan Am/Parapan Am Trails initiative. “The Trans-Canada Trail is delighted to have been able to support the development of this section of greenway trail that means so much to people living in the Frontenac area, and that helps bring us closer to our goal of connecting our national Trail and Canadians by 2017,” says Al MacPherson, Chair of Trans-Canada Trail Ontario, who will speak on behalf of the TCT.
“Ontario is helping close the gaps along Ontario’s Trans Canada Trail as a major legacy investment of the 2015 Games,” said Michael Coteau, Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport and Minister Responsible for the 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games. “Once complete, the Pan Am/Parapan AmTrails will connect Frontenac County to communities across the province. An incredible Games legacy, the trails will promote healthy lifestyles while providing valuable recreational and active transportation opportunities for Ontarians of all ages and abilities.”
Work has begun on the redevelopment of Phase III, which will see the installation of another bridge at White Creek and the redevelopment of 9.8km of trail from the north end of Verona through to White Lake Road. The redevelopment of the Frontenac K&P through to Sharbot Lake is expected to be completed in 2017.
A wide variety of local business owners on the lookout for grant money to grow their businesses attended the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation's grants workshop at the Verona Lions hall on July 16. Numerous presentations were made, including two by the FCFDC's executive director, Anne Prichard, who spoke about the new Eastern Ontario Development Program (EODP)and their collaborative projects grants.
Presentations were also made by several other organizations who give out grants. Stephanie Attwood of the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) outlined the various Trillium grants available to groups and organizations, and Chris Gleeson, a senior business advisor with the Ministry of Economic Development, Trade and Employment, spoke about their special programs. Amy McFadden from FEDDEV (Federal Economic Development Agency) Ontario spoke about the Southern Ontario Prosperity Initiatives that her organization runs. Karen McGregor of the St. Lawrence Employment Centre in Sharbot Lake outlined the employee subsidies and grants her organization offers.
The workshop attracted over 60 business owners from a diverse group. Among them was Tom Richardson, general manager of Lanark/Mazinaw Forest Inc., who has worked in the past with the FCFDC on various training projects. He said he is looking again to the FCFDC for training and capacity building grants for forest workers specifically from the Algonquin First Nations community in the area.
Rena Upitis, executive director of Wintergreen Studios, the eco lodge and education centre located on Canoe Lake Road, was in attendance to find out more about the changes to funding opportunities and possible new funding opportunities. As a not-for-profit business Wintergreen has received funding from the FCFDC in the past and most recently from the Ontario Trillium Foundation, which enabled them over the last year to prepare and bring workshops on sustainability, renewable energy and sustainable building off site to over 400 individuals. With that funding now running out, Upitis said she is looking at other funding opportunities to expand their workshops and specifically to bring similar workshops to local youth and seniors in the area. Upitis was also looking for funding to develop a local festival for Geo-caching.
Sven Schlegel and Willa Murray of Mari Cla Ro, from Toronto, design and make bags and accessories from recycled materials. They moved their studio/workshop to Snow Road in January 2013 and are looking for funding so that they can further develop their product lines as well as bring their products to Europe and the US. Schlegel said that in the past the company has received funding from the FCFDC.
Michael Tkautz of Green City Initiatives is hoping to develop an urban farm either in rural or downtown Kingston. He is currently looking for partnerships and funding opportunities to build “an organic farm for inner city dwellers with zero emissions and transportation and with year round crop production that uses 70% less water, no chemicals and zero fossil fuels.”
Laura Carter, manager of branch operations for the Kingston Frontenac Public Library, was looking specifically at Trillium grants but also at other grant opportunities that could be accessed in partnership with other businesses. The KFPL has in the past received OTF grants, one of which helped to renovate the library in Hartington. Carter said she is also looking at other collaborative projects to help expand technology in the region.
Ian Brumell, treasurer of the Cloyne and District Historical Society, said the society is ”always looking for grant and employment opportunities” and that the organization has in the past successfully received OTF grants for their Pioneer Museum renovations. Laura Bradley, Jim Pine and Lisa Severson, all staff of the Eastern Ontario Regional Network, the company that brought high speed internet to Eastern Ontario, were looking for “economic development opportunities to assist with digital strategies for their ten-year program” as it relates to economic development and specifically to “a study of cell gap analysis for eastern Ontario”. They hope to create a project similar to their broadband improvements. Farmers were also well represented at the meeting. Dianne Dowling was in attendance wearing numerous hats. As president of the National Farmers Union, Local 316 she was looking for EODP funding for possible new projects “helpful to the local food and farm system”' as well as exploring funding opportunities for “larger collaborative food hub/food cluster projects.” She was also on the lookout for funding to update the Local 316's local food directory, Food Down The Road. As a member of the board of the Kingston and Area Seed Initiative (KASSI), she was looking for funding for possible individual or co-op projects designed to “increase the amount of locally adapted and used seed in order to grow a more resilient, sustainable and self-reliant food system in the area.” Lastly, as a member of the recently formed Food Policy Council of Kingston Frontenac Lennox and Addington, Dowling was exploring funding opportunities for upcoming concrete food policy projects.
These were just some of the business people who attended the grant workshop and they represent a diverse group of local business owners and operators hoping to grow their business with the help of the FCFDC and other organizations offering up grant money.
There are two focus points for funding from the Eastern Ontario Development Plan, a federal granting program that is administered locally by the Frontenac Community Futures Development Corporation (FCFDC), which is based in Harrowsmith.
The first is job creation and the second is enhanced sales and profitability for businesses that receive funding support.
Anne Prichard, executive director of the FCFDC, has been waiting for several months for detailed information about how the program is going to work over the next four and a half years. Some of the changes were known to her but some have come as a surprise.
“One thing that we knew was that from now on businesses and not-for-profit corporations will be on a level playing field. The program will only pay 50% of the costs of a project. Previously not-for-profits could receive 80% or even 100% funding but that is no longer happening,” she said.
It is acceptable for recipients to stack funds, that is to say, to use other grants as their share of the 50% they need for EODP-funded projects, but those other grants cannot come from a federal program.
“For not-for-profits in Frontenac County, the 50% rule can be a barrier, because the funding they receive is generally tied directly to their core mission,” said Prichard.
Another aspect of the new program is that a single entity, be it a business, not-for-profit, municipal government or post-secondary institution, can only apply for $100,000 in funding over the life of the plan, when in the past they could apply for up to $100,000 per project.
“This has affected at least two larger long-term projects we were working on,” said Prichard.
Also, whereas the EODP funded internships in the past, it will no longer do so.
“We can fund skills training in specific cases, either a course or a specified training period, in some cases, but internships will now need to be funded from other sources, such as employment services agencies,” said Prichard.
EODP dollars were also used to fund basic websites for local businesses in the past, but now only website upgrades, such as bringing online payment on stream, for example, will be eligible.
Payments will also be results-based, more so than in the past.
“We will be looking favourably at projects that can demonstrate they will either be creating new jobs, saving jobs that would be at risk of being lost if the project did not happen, or creating new sales or new profits for the business undertaking them.” she said.
All of the details about the new version of the program, as well as application forms, are now available at the Frontenac CFDC website.
The agency staff is also available to provide detailed answers to questions about the funding program, and other programs that are available.
Earlier this month, motivated by concern about the environment and a love of business, young entrepreneur Hayden Rasberry launched his own business called WeDrink. The 16-year-old KCVI student, who divides his time between Kingston and Yarker, was one of the vendors at this year’s Canada Day celebration in Harrowsmith.
WeDrink offers consumers a unique, reusable glass water bottle that Rasberry designed and has had manufactured. He said that the number one reason for starting up the business was his awareness of “the growing demand for glass water bottles in and around the Kingston area.” He noticed, for example, that the Limestone Organic Creamery's glass bottles were being used by people post consumption to store their drinks. He said, “I knew that I could create a better, lighter weight glass bottle that was actually meant to be used and carried around.” Environmental and social concerns were a second motivation and Hayden said that his bottles are great for the environment since they are 100% recyclable, and as they are not plastic, they lack the health concerns associated with plastic water bottles, many of which, prior to 2008, contained bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical compound associated with health problems. WeDrink bottles are made from high-density, thin, lightweight glass. They are long-lasting, can be used for hot and cold drinks, which Rasberry says “taste much better when drunk from glass”, are dishwasher safe and come with a neoprene cover and a washable stainless steel cap.
Rasberry says that the glass used in WeDrink bottles is less breakable than ordinary glass, and he is trying to help people overcome their fear of using a glass drink bottle. He has done numerous tests on his bottles and said they can withstand breakage from a one-metre drop onto concrete. The neoprene covers, which are available in five colors, are included in the cost of $15 per bottle and also help to protect them. “We use so much glass in our homes every day; it’s in our cups and plates and the very thin wine glasses and I am trying to encourage consumers to see that a glass drink bottle is a viable alternative to other metal and plastic alternatives.”
Rasberry's company is also partnered with a charity called Watercan, which helps to bring clean water to communities in need. Ten percent of the profits from each WeDrink bottle goes to WaterCan, hence the name of the business. “Every time a WeDrink bottle is sold, someone much less fortunate benefits as well.” Rasberry strongly feels that by offering an environmentally safe alternative to plastic water bottles and by supporting a local charitable organization, he is meeting the needs of his customers and he reported that the business, at this early stage, is doing well. Just one week after its launch he is close to having sold the first 200 bottles he had manufactured and will be ordering 400 more. This summer Rasberry will be able to focus on the business full-time after receiving a $3,000 grant from Summer Company. “My goal this summer is to establish a solid base as well as trying to gauge the consumer demand in Kingston and the surrounding area. After that, I am going to consider expanding to other cities and areas in the fall.” The business has caught the attention of some potential investors, who he said are hoping to help him grow the brand.
This fall Hayden Rasberry will be returning to KCVI for grade 11 and said that he will be putting academics as his primary focus. He plans to study commerce after graduating from high school and said he has a huge interest in business, especially those that focus on environmental and social issues. “I'm convinced that triple bottom line companies like WeDrink, which focus on people, the planet and profit are the businesses of the future. Because the people denying problems, like global warming, are becoming fewer and fewer, companies like this one offer consumers an opportunity to relieve some of the anxiety and stress they have about these issues while offering up a product with social and environmental benefits.”
Rasberry credits his parents, musician Gary Rasberry and Rena Upitis, founder of Wintergreen Studios, for helping him build the company. “Not only did I have a place to stay and food to eat while I was planning and setting up the business, but both my parents gave me a lot of good advice, since both have experience as entrepreneurs.”
WeDrink bottles are sold at Plover's and Living Rooms in downtown Kingston and will be available at a permanent summer retail location soon to be announced on the company’s website. Hayden will also be selling the bottles at a number of different events throughout the summer, which are also listed on the website. Customers can also order bottles by contacting the website. Visit www.WeDrink.ca
Canada Day celebrations took place through out the Frontenacs both on the weekend leading up to and on the day of the July 1 holiday.
While the communities of Denigh, Arden, Long Lake and Kennebec Lake, Bedford, Ompah, Snow Road and Verona held their celebrations on the weekend before the holiday, the villages of Sydenham, Storrington, Sharbot Lake and Harrowsmith chose to hold their celebrations on the holiday Tuesday and despite a rather grim weather forecast, the celebrations (so far, as of mid afternoon Tuesday when this article was submitted) went off without a hitch though the day was a hot and humid one.
Some volunteers did plan changes of venue in case of inclement weather and in Sharbot Lake the festivities planned to move indoors to Oso Hall if need be with talk of delaying the fireworks until the following weekend if necessary.
In Harrowsmith the plethora of colourful classic vintage cars were a hit and in Sharbot Lake it was the parade fairies and the gathering of hundreds of holiday goers at Oso Beach following the parade that made for a fun and relaxing day. Thanks to the all of the service clubs, community groups, organizations and individual volunteers who continue to make the Canada Day Holiday in the Frontenacs one to remember each and every summer, rain or shine.