LAMBAC has helped local businesses with funding during pandemic

Corporation has been provided with more than $3.7 million in liquidity support

GORE BAY – Through Canada’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), Lacloche-Manitoulin Business Assistance Corporation (LAMBAC) has been provided with more than $3.7 million in liquidity support to help 81 local businesses impacted by the pandemic to cover fixed operating costs and maintain jobs.

“Within the past week LAMBAC received $1.4 million in additional funding, but already has more applications from businesses than it has money available,” said Carolyn Campbell, LAMBAC business development officer. “This funding had first been announced last December and we are just getting it now.”

From May 2020 when the fund was announced until May 31, 2021, LAMBAC was able to support 81 businesses with over $3.7 million in loans. “This has been one of the highest amounts of funds provided to community future development corporations in Northern Ontario,” said Mike Addison, LAMBAC’s general manager. “These loans are providing financial contributions (short term interest-free loans) to help support fixed operation costs of small and medium enterprises, SMEs, where business revenues and operating costs have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. This funding is being provided for businesses that didn’t qualify for programs provided by commercial banks.”

Under the RRRF funding program LAMBAC can provide $40,000 loans with $10,000 forgivable if repaid on time. This new round of funding will allow for additional $40,000 loans, on top up of an existing loan of $20,000 with an additional $10,000 forgivable or a new loan of up to $60,000 with $20,000 forgivable based on repayment by the due date.

“The cut off for the most recent round of funding was March 31 and we had received almost $2 million in applications for the funding,” said Ms. Campbell. “We are hoping that there will be additional funding available in the new budget to allow us to continue to support our small businesses.”

Ms. Campbell explained in the Lacloche-Manitoulin region, small businesses are the backbone of the economy and are vital to our communities. “Some of our small businesses are facing uncertainty as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since May 2020, $100 million has been made available under the RRRF for northern Ontario businesses through FedNor, including approximately $50 million in targeted rural support delivery by CFDC’S, which includes LAMBAC, which has delivered $3.78 million and has an additional $750,00 in applications to date, waiting for available funding.”

“The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic hit us all very hard, including the Manitoulin Island, the LaCloche Foothills region and Killarney,” continued Ms. Campbell. “Many businesses were unable to operate for months, which caused sales to drop sharply or even come to a complete stop. Even businesses with detailed business plans and excellent track records were operating blindly and in an environment of uncertainty. Many of these businesses were forced to alter their operations, as did LAMBAC.”

After 35 years of support to the local business community, LAMBAC adapted to the situation and continued to operate remotely. Interest charges were put on hold, payments were postponed, and the focus shifted from small business lending to the government of Canada’s RRRF.

“We launched the RRRF at a time when the uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic was sky-high. We knew that community futures development corporations were in a unique position to help deliver this fund using their local expertise,” said the Honourable Melanie Joly, minister of economic development and official languages. “Now, we are seeing the targeted results of that support, thanks to the regional development agencies and CFDC’s supporting rural businesses and entrepreneurs to be resilient in the future.” 

Canada’s COVID-19 economic response plan has helped to protect millions of jobs, provide emergency support to families and keep businesses afloat as they deal with the impact of COVID-19. This is a central part of the RRRF, which helps support those who may not be eligible for other programs.

LAMBAC was also able to disburse over $2.58 million to 23 businesses from its community loan fund, which created or maintained an additional 77 jobs.

LAMBAC has been assisting businesses for more than 35 years and is pleased to have been able to support local businesses through this unprecedented time, added Ms. Campbell.