Community Futures join forces; make a difference for education in northern B.C.

The Northern BC Trade and Finance Group, an alliance of five northern B.C. Community Futures,

The Northern BC Trade and Finance Group, an alliance of five northern B.C. Community Futures, is proud to be a finance partner of the School District No. 91 Business Company, whose successful foray into international education was announced after the official signing by Minister George Abbott in Beijing on March 21.

The School District No. 91 Business Company is slated to open “Canadian Pathways Xianghe No 1 BC Offshore School” in September 2012. This undertaking is a significant achievement for both the export of educational services and B.C.’s wood products that will be used in the construction of the school in the Xianghe Province in China.

In the Community Futures network, financing of the School District No. 91’s business plan is also a significant achievement; the scope and complexity of the business financing would have been beyond the capability of any one of its individual offices. The Northern BC Trade and Finance Group, was struck in late 2010 under a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), bringing together the lending capacity and expertise of the five Community Futures Development Corporations:  Haida Gwaii (Massett), Pacific Northwest (Prince Rupert), 16/37 (Terrace), Stuart Nechako (Vanderhoof) and Nadina (Houston).

The Northern BC Trade and Finance Group collaboratively develops innovative, non-traditional financing solutions and responds specifically to businesses that have a need to borrow more than $150,000.  Since its formation, the Northern BC Trade and Finance Group has financed two projects, both in excess of one million dollars.

“This is a great example of the whole being better than the sum of its parts,” says John Farrell, General Manager of Community Futures Pacific Northwest in Prince Rupert. “The Northern BC Trade and Finance Group brings together the financing strength and business development expertise of five Community Futures operations, along with their network of lending partners, to support local businesses with access to capital and valuable networking opportunities.”

In part, the Northern BC Trade and Finance Group was formed to support local businesses reach global markets. As a member of a network of 34 CF’s in B.C. and over 250 in Canada, each independent non-profit CF is dedicated to serving their local communities and improving the diversity and stability of local economies through a wide variety of business services including loans and training.

Community Futures organizations are committed to:

•  Helping small businesses expand into new markets, restructure, or respond to increased demand,

•  Providing competitive financing that meets the needs of businesses within the region,

• Building supply chain relationships within the region that will make the Northwest corridor stronger and more competitive.

“The goals of the CF organizations may seem lofty for a small business in a rural, remote community like Fort St. James or Vanderhoof,” says general manager of Community Futures Stuart Nechako, Keith Federink, “but School District No. 91 Business Company’s success proves that the possibilities for international trade are out there. It is exciting to support the growth and enhanced operations that could lead to more relationships in global markets.“

Small businesses are encouraged to contact the Community Futures office supporting their community for any of their business development, financing or entrepreneurship training programs.