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FedDev Ontario supports women-led businesses to rebuild, reopen and revive in southern Ontario

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News release

Government of Canada invests $4 million to support over 700 women-led businesses across southern Ontario

July 17 2020 – Cobourg, Ontario

Women-led businesses often face unique challenges, which have been amplified by the impacts of COVID-19 on our economy. As the economy reopens, these businesses need support to adapt their operations and position themselves for a successful recovery.

Today, the Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade, visited Venture13 in Cobourg, home of the Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC). There, she announced a $4-million FedDev Ontario investment in support of women entrepreneurs across southern Ontario, on behalf of the Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for FedDev Ontario.

With this investment through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), the Northumberland CFDC and WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation, in collaboration with regional partners, will deliver the Rebuild Reopen Revive Initiative to support women-led small- and medium-sized enterprises in rural and urban communities across southern Ontario. Both organizations will receive $2 million to provide non-repayable contributions of up to $5,000 to help eligible women-led businesses with key re-opening expenditures, including:

  • Acquisition of reusable personal protective equipment (PPE);
  • Reconfiguration of workspaces to accommodate social distancing impacts; and
  • Enhancing online capacity to improve accessibility and client service.

Over 700 women-led businesses will be supported through this initiative. Interested SMEs can visit Northumberland CFDC (eastern Ontario) or WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation (southwestern Ontario) for more details or to apply.

While at Venture13, Minister Ng saw firsthand the entrepreneurship and innovation taking place at this thriving community hub, made possible with a $1.43 million FedDev Ontario investment in the Northumberland CFDC through the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy (WES) Ecosystem Fund in 2019. With this support, the Northumberland CFDC is working to improve access to capital for underrepresented women-led businesses through the development of an automated financial lending platform with an algorithm that removes gender bias. As part of a holistic approach, successful applicants are enrolled automatically into a concurrent program offering advisory and support services, networking, and access to office space through Venture13. The CFDC is supporting the growth of 30 women-led businesses through this initiative.

Support for women-led businesses in Peterborough

Minister Ng was later joined by the Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development, at the Imprinted Apparel Store in Peterborough, where the ministers highlighted an additional $380,000 in support through the Women Entrepreneurship Fund (WEF) to local women-led businesses. Funding recipients include:

  • Imprinted Apparel Store – $100,000 for this producer of custom apparel and promotional products to expand e-commerce opportunities and purchase equipment to improve operations.
  • Unlock Math Inc. – $100,000 for this online digital math course provider to implement an online platform.
  • Walton Wood Farm Corp. – $100,000 for this maker of sustainable bath and body products to upgrade the company’s planning systems and launch a new natural pet care product line.
  • Mallory Charmaine Graham (o/a Tribal Trade Co.) – $80,000 for this retailer that offers products and gifts from all nations of Turtle Island to develop and implement a digital marketing plan, undertake professional development, and hire advisory services.


“Women entrepreneurs face unique and systemic challenges amidst the COVID-19 crisis. Our government is committed to building on the work we’ve done to break down these longstanding barriers to success as we restart and rebuild our economy. The investments made today through FedDev Ontario will support women-led businesses with critical costs as they work to re-open their businesses.”
– The Honourable Mary Ng, Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

“With reduced revenues and financial hardships of COVID-19, women-led businesses need support more than ever, as they face new challenges and expenses associated with reopening their businesses and preparing for recovery. The investments of over $4 million today will help to relieve some of the pressure as women-led businesses reopen and position themselves for a successful and stable future. We are here to support women entrepreneurs and to help these businesses come back stronger than ever.”
– The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages and Minister responsible for Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

“The Government of Canada is demonstrating its commitment to women-led SMEs today through significant investments delivered by FedDev Ontario. We value the incredible contributions women entrepreneurs make to our society and economy, and we are proud to support them as they work to strengthen their businesses and re-build our economy during this unprecedented time.”
– The Honourable Maryam Monsef, Minister for Women and Gender Equality and Rural Economic Development

“We are very pleased to be working with multiple ecosystem partners across Eastern Ontario to make sure women-led businesses are fully empowered in rebuilding, reopening and reviving. These pivotal initiatives, supported by FedDev Ontario and the Government of Canada, are perfectly timed to remove barriers and add value.”
– Wendy Curtis, Executive Director, Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation

“The WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation recognizes the challenges that women-led businesses are facing amidst the COVID-19 crisis. We are excited about the opportunity to work with our community partners to deliver the Rebuild Reopen Revive Initiative across southwestern Ontario and help women-led SMEs at this critical time.”
– Stephen MacKenzie, President and CEO, WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation

Quick facts

  • Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC) provides financing and strategy support for entrepreneurs. Delivering an array of entrepreneurial development and finance programs funded by FedDev Ontario, Northumberland CFDC also manages an investment portfolio that drives business start-up and expansion.
  • The WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation is a not-for-profit organization with a focus to develop and execute strategies to retain, expand, attract and help new businesses start up in the Windsor-Essex region.
  • Venture13 brings together early-stage entrepreneurs with innovation partners to connect, empower and accelerate new ventures. In 2017, the Town of Cobourg, in partnership with Northumberland CFDC and with the support of FedDev Ontario, transformed a municipal building into Venture13, a thriving hub of opportunity for entrepreneurship and innovation.
  • The national $962-million Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), is delivered through Canada’s regional development agencies (RDAs) and supports SMEs across Canada that have been unable to access existing relief measures. In southern Ontario, FedDev Ontario is delivering $213 million to provide financial relief and help businesses recover.
  • Since November 2015, FedDev Ontario has invested over $182 million in 181 projects in support of women entrepreneurship.
  • Through the Women Entrepreneurship Fund, the Government of Canada has invested a total of $30 million to more than 300 women-owned and led businesses across Canada to grow and reach new markets. In addition, the Government of Canada allocated $85 million to the WES Ecosystem Fund to strengthen capacity within the entrepreneurship ecosystem and close gaps in service for women entrepreneurs. Over 50 projects were funded through this initiative.

Associated links


Ryan Nearing
Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Small Business, Export Promotion and International Trade

Alexander Cohen
Press Secretary, Office of the Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages

Media Relations
Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

SRBT producing 10,000 Face Shields per week for Renfrew County and surrounding area!

June 2, 2020

Following Ontario’s Premier Doug Ford’s call on the province’s businesses on March 21, 2020 to help make medical supplies, SRB Technologies (Canada) Inc. (SRBT) met with local senior officials at the Pembroke Regional Hospital and local retirement homes where it was determined that Face Shields were in great shortage and that there was also a great need for a Face Shield that would be reusable through cleaning or visor replacement.

On April 4, 2020 SRBT developed a business plan to redeploy some of its production capacity towards the mass production of Face Shields for Renfrew County and surrounding area to help fight COVID-19. The business plan was developed to produce a Face Shield that could be best manufactured with the equipment, expertise and staff already in place at SRBT.

With the financial help of the Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation and the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development Job Creation and Trade’s “Ontario Together” Fund, SRBT executed its business plan by acquiring a Medical Device Establishment Licence from Health Canada, purchasing tooling, the necessary materials and by implementing new production procedures.

SRBT has also instituted three shifts over 24 hours to provide the ability to produce 10,000 Face Shields a week for sale first in Renfrew County and surrounding area.

This week SRBT is making its first deliveries of its Face Shields to the Pembroke Regional Hospital (PRH), Renfrew County District School Board (RCDSB), Pearly Whites Mobile Dental Hygiene Services and to Orthodontist Dr. Benoit Hebert.

SRBT would like to thank Renfrew-Nippissing-Pembroke MPP John Yakabuski, the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development Job Creation and Trade, Diane McKinnon and Mike Thompson from The Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation, Algonquin College, Mayor Mike Lemay and the City of Pembroke, Health Canada, ETM Industries, Leilani Borne and The Pembroke Regional Hospital.

Detailed information on our Face Shield is available at

For more information please contact:

Stephane Levesque
SRB Technologies (Canada) Inc.
Tel: (613) 732-0055, Extension #111
Cel: (613) 639-1349

Attention All Small Businesses in Renfrew County – COVID-19 Relief Loan

If you or someone you know is struggling through this unprecedented time, please be advised that in direct response to local needs, Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation (RCCFDC) is currently offering a Special “Relief Loan”at 2.95% to qualifying existing and new small business clients. As part of the Relief loan, all payments will be deferred and interest forgiven to July 31, 2020.

This loan is to assist with working capital or other expenses you expect to have an economic impact on your business due to COVID -19


To apply for the Relief Loan, go to to request the loan application.

For any questions, please contact Mike Thompson, Business Development Officer, at

Relief Loan FB post (4)

(COVID-19) Support for Small and Mid-Size Enterprises in Renfrew County that are impacted by the Coronavirus Pandemic

In direct response to our clients advising us of the impact on their businesses and the need for support, Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation (RCCFDC) is responding at this unprecedented time with the following:

For the period of March 18, 2020 – July 31, 2020, monthly Loan Payments for all existing clients will be suspended until August 1, 2020 (the principal portion of the payment will be deferred, and interest costs forgiven until July 31, 2020). The Life Insurance component will be collected monthly. We will continue reassessing the economic impact of COVID-19 and may find it necessary to make further amendments as needed.

RCCFDC will also be offering a Special Loan (identified as “Relief Loan”) at 2.95% to both existing and new clients. The loan is to assist with working capital or other verified expenses you expect to have an economic impact on your business due to COVID -19.  The features of the Relief Loan are as follows:

Loan Amount and Term

  • $20,000 – 2.95%; 5-year term
  • $15,000 – 2.95%; 4-year term
  • $10,000 – 2.95%; 3-year term
  • $5,000 – 2.95%; 2-year term


  • Payments will be suspended until August 1, 2020 (Interest costs will be forgiven until August 1, 2020). The Life Insurance component will be collected monthly.


  • Promissory Note (and supporting resolution if required)
  • General Security Agreement
  • Personal Guarantee
  • Life Insurance

To apply for the Relief Loan, go to to request the loan application.

If additional funding is required, please contact Mike Thompson, Business Development Officer, as more information may be requested.

RCCFDC is closely monitoring this developing situation and is available to assist all Small and Mid-Size Enterprises in Renfrew County with financial support and counselling services.


Out of caution for the health of Renfrew County CFDC employees, clients and communities, we are implementing a series of measures intended to support business continuity for ourselves and clients while supporting the goals of social distancing in arresting the impact of COVID-19.

We remain committed to serving our clients during this challenging time. Effective March 17th, the following decisions have been implemented until further notice:

1. Our staff continues to be available for client servicing via telecommunication/electronic methods of phone, email and conferencing.

2. By exception, and solely business critical, we will be accessible by scheduled appointment.

Like all Canadians, we are closely monitoring official announcements and expect to respond as this fluid situation continues to evolve. The Government of Canada has launched a new web page (click here) to provide Canadian businesses with a one-stop-shop for the resources they need to make informed decisions while navigating the challenges of COVID-19 in an interconnected global economy.

Concurrently, we are also proactively working with our many partners and colleagues to collaborate on responses to the changing needs of our clients. Please watch our website and social media feeds for ongoing updates.

We thank you for your patience during this difficult time and encourage all to be, and stay, well.

Diane McKinnon, Executive Director

Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation

Women in Business – 2019

Are you ready for this?! Women in Business is back for its third year!

If you are a woman in business, don’t miss your chance to register for this awesome networking opportunity!
This year focuses on “Using Emotional Intelligence in Business” and hosts an interactive panel of Chamber and political representatives!

Contact ontrac to register today!

For more information and to register, call 613-623-4680 or e-mail

Women in Business 2019 - Official Sponsor Poster

FanSaves Wins RC100 2019


Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation Announces the Winner of its Second Startup Competition

August 14, 2019 5:00 PM Eastern Daylight Time

PEMBROKE, Ontario–After three intensive rounds of competitive down-selection, FanSaves won the second annual RC100 Startup competition, securing $100,000 in early-stage investment from Renfrew County Community Futures Development Corporation (CFDC).

FanSaves is a platform that helps sports teams and other organizations activate their fan base, increase engagement and compile valuable customer data and ROI. Their mobile app gives fans discounts and deals from sponsors of their favourite teams and organizations. Each redemption is tracked in a dashboard, unique to each team and sponsor, and gives them customer analytics and a way to track return on investment.

“We want to prove that you don’t have to live in Silicon Valley to be a successful tech company. We want to show the world that Renfrew County is THE place to do business and we want to prove that a rural county can help produce a world-class tech startup. The RC100 investment will make this possible”. Shannon Ferguson, Co-Founder & CEO FanSaves.

The competition, which began in February of this year with 28 entries, officially ended today at the SRB Technologies Inc. RC100 Startup Reception held at the Pembroke & Area Airport.

“We are excited to be backing FanSaves” said Ray Bonenberg, Chair of Renfrew County CFDC’s Board of Directors. “The innovative software is impressive but even more so, the people who are behind its commercialization. Congratulations to all.”


About FanSaves

FanSaves is disrupting the way teams (including sports teams, organizations, towns and BIAs, e-sports, events, festivals, universities and colleges, and influencers) sell sponsorship and advertising by giving businesses who sponsor these entities a way to track their return on investment, as well as valuable customer data. Their app is the first platform that connects fans to multiple teams and their sponsors all in one place; activating their fan bases and encouraging them to spend money at the businesses that support their favourite or local teams. Incentivizing people with discounts and deals on the FanSaves app, not only helps them save money but also promotes shopping local, enhances tourism in areas that are on FanSaves and acts as a conduit to help inform people (whether they are from the area or out-of-town) of places they can eat, shop, stay or get services at.

Find out more at

About RC100

RC100 is supported by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) and modelled after the successful N100, Northumberland’s CFDC’s open invitational technology startup competition. Delivered by Renfrew County CFDC in collaboration with L-SPARK, Startup Canada and Invest Ottawa, and through sponsorship by BDC, Algonquin College, City of Pembroke, Renfrew County Economic Development Department, MathWorks, Budgeto, SRB Technologies Inc. and powered by Reviewr, RC100 will enter its third year with a call for applications in January, 2020. Visit us online at

About FedDev Ontario

FedDev Ontario actively works to advance and diversify the southern Ontario economy through funding opportunities and business services that support innovation and growth in Canada’s most populous region. The Agency has delivered impressive results, which can be seen in businesses that are creating innovative technologies, improving their productivity, growing their revenues, and in the economic advancement of communities across the region. For more information, visit



Renfrew County CFDC‘s Executive Director, Diane McKinnon at 613 431 3951 ext. 222 or


Renfrew County CFDC’s Loan Manager, Mike Thompson at 613 431 3951 ext. 223 or

Rural Innovation Initiative Information Sessions – May 29-30

information sessions

Following the launch of the Rural Innovation Initiative Eastern Ontario, come out to any of the three information sessions being held May 29-30, 2019 to learn more about the opportunity, who is eligible, what is eligible, and more.

Deadline for local applications is June 30, 2019.

Contact Kelley Lemenchick at 613-431-3951 ext. 229 or for additional information.