Local businesses that don’t qualify for other forms of COVID-19 relief from the federal government can start submitting their applications for the Muskoka Business Recovery Fund, according to an announcement from Muskoka Futures on June 2.
The federal government is providing funding to Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) across Canada to make loans to businesses that don’t qualify for other forms of government assistance during the pandemic. Small businesses that don’t meet the eligibility criteria for COVID-19 support programs such as the Canada Emergency Wage Subsidy or the Canada Emergency Business Account can apply for a loan of up to $40,000 through the recovery fund. The loans will be established at zero per cent interest, according to Muskoka Futures, and no payments are required until Dec. 31, 2022, though principal repayments can be made at any time.
“We have been fielding calls and supporting businesses as best we can since the beginning of this situation, including having implemented a number of changes to support our current loan clients early in this economic shutdown,” said David Brushey, executive director of Muskoka Futures, in the announcement. “We are pleased to have received this further funding from the Federal Government to be able to address recovery in Muskoka for the businesses that contribute to our community and who have struggled to fit into currently announced funding programs.”
Similar to the Canada Emergency Business Account, 25 per cent of any loan up to $10,000 can be forgiven if the recipient has paid back 75 per cent of the original loan by Dec. 31, 2022. If the recipient cannot repay the loan by the deadline, it will be converted to a three-year term loan with interest rates no higher than 5 per cent, effective Jan. 1, 2023. The full balance is due no later than Dec. 31, 2025, according to Muskoka Futures.
In addition to the loans, Muskoka Futures offers a support program known as Momentum, which was created to help businesses with strategy and business development. They also provide assistance in human resources, sales and marketing through their Advisors in Residence program along with offering the services of their Program Coordinator Jodi Chapman-Good, who can guide businesses through strategy consultations and help them access relevant programs and resources offered throughout the province
“While we have seen great examples of the resiliency and creativity of local businesses over the last few months, we also understand that many businesses have struggled and feel overwhelmed by the current situation,” Brushey said. “We understand how challenging this has been for them and we have worked to make the application process for the Recovery Fund as seamless and efficient as possible.”