In a move that underscores the significance of community-driven finance, the Northumberland Community Futures Development Corporation (NCFDC) has been instrumental in empowering local businesses, with Brighton KOA’s (Ontario, Canada) recent transformation standing as a prime example.
The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), backed by the Government of Canada, has been channeling operational funding to Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs). This initiative aims to position rural Canadian businesses for success, providing them with the essential tools and support required to thrive in a competitive landscape.
NCFDC, in particular, has been at the forefront of this movement in Northumberland. By administering the core Community Futures Program (CFP), the organization has been developing alternative lending solutions tailored to meet the diverse needs of various business structures, from freelancers and sole proprietors to more complex corporations and co-operatives.
Rural businesses form the backbone of the Canadian economy. Whether they’re main street ventures, family-run establishments, or franchises, their success is intertwined with the nation’s overall economic prosperity. However, these businesses often face challenges in securing financing for different phases of their growth, be it startup, stabilization, or expansion.
Commercial lenders, with their stringent criteria, sometimes fall short in catering to these businesses. This is where institutions like NCFDC step in, bridging the gap and ensuring that viable projects see the light of day, thereby contributing to community economic development.
This year has been a landmark year for NCFDC. Under the oversight of the Investment Committee of the Board of Directors, the organization reported commendable lending outcomes. A notable highlight is that over half of their active portfolio is now represented by women-owned and women-led businesses.
The board of NCFDC, a diverse group of volunteers hailing from Northumberland municipalities and Alderville First Nation, brings a wealth of experience to the table. These are award-winning entrepreneurs, innovators, and domain experts who have been pivotal in shaping the organization’s trajectory. With the steadfast leadership of Executive Director Wendy Curtis and Loan Manager Kim Botrie, NCFDC has been a beacon of hope for many, creating and preserving thousands of jobs since its inception in 2001.
One of the standout success stories has been Brighton KOA. Part of the renowned Kampgrounds of America (KOA) franchise, Brighton KOA is nestled in Northumberland’s east end. It serves as a sought-after destination for camping enthusiasts, offering a range of facilities from tents and trailers to cabins.
KOA, with its rich legacy dating back to 1962, boasts of being the world’s largest network of privately owned campgrounds, with a presence in over 500 locations across the US and Canada.
Brighton KOA’s recent transformation is noteworthy. With the backing of NCFDC, owner Jackie Banas undertook extensive renovations, playground enhancements, and cabin expansions, elevating the overall camping experience for visitors.
For the campground industry, this serves as a testament to the power of community-driven finance.
By leveraging such financial support, campgrounds can enhance their offerings, attract more visitors, and contribute significantly to the local economy. As the story of Brighton KOA illustrates, when community finance and businesses come together, the results can be transformative.
Featured image from Brighton / 401 KOA Holiday.