FedDev commits $4.5 million to support Franco-Ontarian SMEs through regional recovery fund


Three organizations in southern Ontario have been selected to receive a cumulative $4.5 million investment from the federal government’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF) through FedDev Ontario, one of Canada’s regional development agencies.

“This funding is an additional boost for the Franco-Ontarian community to help it thrive and succeed in a post-COVID economy.”
– Minister Mélanie Joly

The non-repayable funding is aimed to support the relief and recovery of Franco-Ontarian businesses across southern Ontario, as the country begins to reopen its economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Through these investments, the federal government said 460 Franco-Ontarian organizations and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will receive funding.

The three organizations have been advanced fifty percent of the committed funds and are now able to begin distributing that capital to SMEs.

“We are helping Francophone businesses affected by the pandemic to meet the challenges they
are facing in this new reality,” said Minister of Economic Development and Official Languages Mélanie Joly. “This funding is an additional boost for the Franco-Ontarian community to help it thrive and succeed in a post-COVID economy. We are working hard to help businesses come back stronger than ever.”

The RRRF, originally announced mid-April, is a $962 million fund aimed to support regional and rural businesses that may not have existing relationships with financial institutions, or do not qualify for other federal COVID-19 relief programs. FedDev Ontario was allocated $213 million to distribute short-term financial relief through the RRRF.

Of the $4.5 million, l’Assemblée de francophonie de l’Ontario and the Prescott Russell Community Development Corporation (CDC). These organizations will receive a combined investment of $3 million to deliver funding to SMEs and community organizations, including social enterprises and other nonprofits.

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The $3 million will be used to provide funding of up to $20,000 to help SMEs in official language minority communities (OLMCs) within southern Ontario with the costs of reopening their businesses. Social enterprises and nonprofits can apply for funding through l’Assemblée de francophonie de l’Ontario’s website, and for-profit organizations can apply through Prescott Russell CDC’s website.

The remaining $1.5 million of the federal government’s investment will go to Societé Économique de l’Ontario (SÉO), to deliver what the federal government called “targeted technical advisory services” to OLMC businesses and cooperatives in the southern Ontario region.

Established in 2001 and based in Ottawa, Societé Economique de l’Ontario is a provincial network that works with the Francophone and bilingual community stakeholders in economic development, entrepreneurship, and employment.

“Among the core values of the Société Économique de l’Ontario (SÉO), innovation and the opportunity creation are very important,” said Denis Laframboise, president of SÉC. “We are honoured by FedDev Ontario’s confidence in our organization to play a key role in rebuilding and restarting businesses in southern Ontario.

Image source Unsplash. Photo by KOBU Agency.

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle Kirkwood

Isabelle is a Vancouver-based writer with 5+ years of experience in communications and journalism and a lifelong passion for telling stories. For over two years, she has reported on all sides of the Canadian startup ecosystem, from landmark venture deals to public policy, telling the stories of the founders putting Canadian tech on the map.

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