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Federal Funding for New Business Incubator in St. Thomas

Joe Preston Announces New Business Incubator for St. Thomas and Elgin County

Joe Preston, MP for Elgin-Middlesex-London, today announced that the St. Thomas Economic Development Corporation (St. Thomas EDC) will receive $800,000 to create a Business Incubator for service, light manufacturing, and ancillary retail clients. The announcement comes after months of negotiations between the St. Thomas EDC, the Elgin Business Resource Centre (EBRC), and the Government of Canada.

The new Business Incubator project will be funded through the Community Adjustment Fund, which is a two-year, $1-billion national program aimed at addressing the short-term economic needs of communities hit hardest by the global economic recession. The Business Incubator will receive an additional $90,000 from local funding sources.

“Our government is committed to immediate job creation and economic growth right here in St. Thomas,” said Joe Preston, MP. “We are providing funding for the development of local businesses and organizations because we understand the positive impact they have on our communities.”

The new Business Incubator’s purpose will be to help new businesses gain better footholds when starting out. Business Incubators offer small businesses the support to succeed with a structured environment and essential resources such as administrative assistance, meeting facilities, office space, and business counselling. All services are designed to encourage business development, sustainability, as well as create jobs.

“We are extremely pleased to know that this Business Incubator will be centrally located in St. Thomas to serve the needs of City and County residents. We appreciate the support of the Federal Government in making this project a reality,” said Cliff Barwick, Mayor of St. Thomas.

With thousands of job losses and closing businesses, the St. Thomas and Elgin County area remains one of the hardest hit in this economic recession. In both the City and County, unemployment rates continue to exceed the provincial and regional statistics; however, the area’s entrepreneurial spirit is very much alive with hundreds of individuals seeking the help of the EBRC to start up new businesses. Between 2008 and 2009, 102 small businesses were created in Elgin County.

“This new initiative aligns very well with the Economic Development Corporation’s Strategic Plan, which identified Entrepreneurship and Business Diversification as target areas and specifically the creation of a Business Incubator. This is another positive step forwards towards local economic recovery,” said Dennis Broome, President of the St. Thomas EDC.

“This new project is a unique opportunity for the EBRC to coordinate services and deliver more to the ever-growing number of area entrepreneurs. This type of program will help new start-ups with management and counselling advice, affordable rent, and administrative services that they really need to get off the ground and succeed,” said John Regan, General Manager of the EBRC.

The St. Thomas Business Incubator will be a mixed-use incubator, incorporating a number of clients from a variety of sectors. “The EBRC and dedicated staff will deliver and manage all services offered at the Business Incubator. We’re very excited to partner with the St. Thomas EDC in helping new businesses develop and stay in the City of St. Thomas and Elgin County,” said Gayle Bogart, President of the EBRC.

To date, a site location for the incubator has not been announced.

About Business Incubators:

Every year, approximately 140,000 new small businesses are created in Canada; however, about 70% of them fail by their third year of operation.

In 2005, there were approximately 85 business incubators in Canada, which served over 900 clients and generated revenues over $93 million. These same incubators supported more than 13,000 part-time and full-time jobs. Today, there are about 92 business incubators in Canada, with 25 in Ontario. About half of the business incubators in Ontario are structured with a Community Futures Development Corporation.

Business Incubators do not accept all applicants. Entrepreneurs must apply and meet criteria as indicated by the incubator’s policies and procedures. Each incubator is different from the next. There are different types of incubators, including:

Technology Computer software Internet Telecommunications

Computer hardware Wireless technology Energy Environmental/green technology

Arts Media Retail Electronics

Construction Forestry products Services Medical instrumentation

A mixed use incubator could be a combination of any of the above listed types. Traditionally, incubator businesses spend about 30 months in the program, developing the business to successfully move on to their own locations.

For more information on business incubators, contact the Canadian Association of Business Incubators (CABI) at www.cabi.ca.

About the Community Adjustment Fund:

The Community Adjustment Fund is a two-year, $1-billion national program aimed at addressing the short-term economic needs of communities hit hardest by the global economic recession. The approved project must meet the terms and conditions set out in the contribution agreement. St. Thomas EDC’s mandate is to attract, retain and grow their industrial and commercial sectors.

FedDev Ontario was created as part of Canada’s Economic Action Plan to support economic and community development, innovation, and economic diversification, with contributions to communities, businesses and non-profit organizations in southern Ontario. To learn more about FedDev Ontario and the Community Adjustment Fund, please visit the web site at www.feddevontario.gc.ca, or call 1-866-593-5505. For additional information on Canada’s Economic Action Plan, visit www.actionplan.gc.ca.