Fuelling Canada’s rural entrepreneurial development.
Valley Heartland is part of an established and collaborative network of 267 Community Futures offices across Canada that support rural businesses.
Core to a Community Futures office is the delivery of the Community Futures Program (CFP), funded by the Government of Canada. Formally established in 1985, the Community Futures Program was implemented to support business development in rural and remote communities. Three decades later, Community Futures is Canada’s largest, most well-established national community economic development movement. Each office is deeply embedded and engaged in rural communities, employing local staff, and is governed by a volunteer board of directors.
The program is a central component of the Government of Canada’s support for rural communities and part of the Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada (ISED) portfolio administered by Regional Development Agencies (RDAs). The Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) supports offices in eastern and southern Ontario. The funding provided by FedDev Ontario supports three pillars of business: Loans, Counselling, and Community Economic Development.
What does this look like at Valley Heartland?
We manage a Community Investment Fund that provides financing for new or existing businesses and social enterprises to facilitate start-up, and expansion, in our service area. The investment fund is a uniquely Community Futures tool to stimulate economic development in rural communities, and local boards of directors make decisions at the community level.
We offer businesses a range of support services such as business planning and counselling along with valuable templates and tools to enhance their development. Our services are provided at no cost and are available to all businesses in our area. We also periodically host events and training opportunities for entrepreneurs and social enterprises.
Community Economic Development
We don’t just work with entrepreneurs; we also provide thought leadership and support to community leaders and economic development stakeholders. We welcome opportunities to partner with stakeholders impacting our service area on strategic planning and value-added activities that support the economic vitality of our region.
Lanark County Economic Development
In addition to the CFP, Valley Heartland provides regional economic development strategies and programming within Lanark County under the Lanark County Economic Development brand through a service agreement with the county. Our partnership with Lanark County is built on a shared commitment to nurturing the economy and labour market by supporting businesses, and creating and maintaining jobs. We achieve this through an open collaboration that is ambitious and embraces innovation.
- The development and execution of County-wide Economic Development strategies
- The initial point of contact for investors and developers looking to establish themselves in the County
- Providing exploratory and preliminary assistance for site selection and relocation investment in preparation for lower-tier engagement
- Development and execution of marketing strategies
- Facilitation of quarterly Economic Development Alliance meetings
- Ongoing Economic Development Planning and BR+E activities