Dozens of small businesses across the South Okanagan have been approved for nearly $2 million in COVID- 19 relief loans thanks to a federal government stimulus package.
The 47 businesses qualified for loans of up to $40,000 through the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund, said Community Futures general manager, Charles Cornell, whose city office provides training and financial support to community business owners in the Okanagan-Similkameen.
The loans will help to close a gap in pandemic relief funding not available to recipients under other initiatives, explained Cornell. The Recovery Fund is a branch of Ottawa’s Western Economic Diversification program.
Cornell explained that approved businesses aren’t required to pay interest or make payments on their loans through the end of 2022, adding that businesses that pay off their loans before then will have as much as $10,000 forgiven.
Around half of the businesses are owned by local women, while many others are owned by locals with disabilities, Cornell stated.
The Penticton Community Futures office has been helping regional entrepreneurs for 34 years. The office receives most of its funding from the federal government and is run by an independent board of directors who work closely with the City of Penticton.
There are 34 independent Community Futures offices across rural B.C. and Kelowna.