Setting your business up for success revolves around using all resources available. Educating yourself on what will help your business grow stronger, better and faster is crucial for long term business success. Connecting with local business organizations and finding out how they can support you, what services they offer, and how you can leverage that to your benefit can be a way to fast track reaching your short and long term business goals.
Locally, Valley Heartland, The Small Business Advisory Centre and the Carleton Place & District Chamber of Commerce work together to provide services that can support you in business. Here’s a snapshot of what you can expect from each:
Valley Heartland provides entrepreneurs + communities in Lanark County & North Leeds access to funding, training and mentorship to help them nurture the most innovative, sustainable businesses and communities imaginable. As a community-based, non-profit organization funded by FedDev, they invest in job creation, business and community innovation.
Valley Heartland offers business services for new, growing, small and medium enterprises, all in one place. They deliver programs and services in partnership with the Government of Canada and work with many other organizations – local, provincial and national, to provide businesses in our community access to resources needed to succeed. along the way.
Programs such as Launch Lab give new business owners access to Their Entrepreneurs in residence who can help with everything from marketing, raising investment, distribution and sales channels, business structure, intellectual property strategy, cash forecasting, and more.
We are an easily accessible conduit into a suite of resources both locally and provincially. Along with mentorship, Launch Lab can also provide access to market intelligence reports, grants and funding programs, training and workshops, connections into other local resources, and an expanded network of professional contacts.
Valley Heartland will provide Social Media Mentoring. Working one-on-one with clients, Valley Heartland can connect your to the places and platforms that you need to be!. Participants will receive support tailored to suit your own unique challenges of your business’ social media needs.
Other programs include:
Peer Groups – Peer Groups bring businesses of the same or comparable industry together, providing them with a shared mentor for support, guidance, and advice. It’s also a way to share expertise and receive ideas from others.
Amplify Program – The amplify program has participants partnered with 1-2 mentors for 6 months to work on business goals and challenges to help you grow.
Valley Heartland administers a local investment fund to help finance business start-up, stabilization, and expansion in Lanark County and North Leeds. Their repayable financing is available when other sources are insufficient or unavailable and they will work collaboratively with banks to find financing solutions for local entrepreneurs. Valley Heartland has a variety of different loans and financing options, perfect to help your business for whatever project you have on the go.
Business Improvement Program (BIP)
BIP assists local businesses and social enterprises with physical improvements to existing facilities to stimulate business growth and further long-term development. The applicant must be the registered owner of the property or a tenant with the written permission of the registered owner of the property. These loans are ideal for matching funds in order to apply to Municipal Community Improvement Project Grants. Up to $250,000.
They offer standard loans up to $250,000 for a variety of purposes, supporting multiple goals as well as microloans up to $15,000 in which a decision is made within 5 business days. Another option is the line of credit in which you draw on the value of the loan in blocks up to a set limit. Lines of credit are then reviewed and renewed annually where the interest rate is fixed for one year. Interest-only payments are paid monthly and principle is due on demand. Lines of credit are available for up to $250,000 as well.
Valley Heartland offers special financing options for women and youth entrepreneurship in our region. The loans designed to advance women’s entrepreneurship in our region give successful applicants access up to $250,000 in loans in addition to free unlimited attendance for one person to all Valley Heartland workshops, as well as, 5 Small Business Advisory Centre workshops during the first year of their loan. In a similar program, youth aged 18-30 at the time of application and that can provide a viable business plan are eligible for up to $25,000 in addition to free unlimited attendance for one person to all Valley Heartland workshops, as well as, 5 Small Business Advisory Centre workshops during the first year of their loan.
Also offered are loans for Social Enterprises. At a reduced interest rate and designed to empower non-profit organizations to create or expand sustainable Social Enterprises these loans must be for specific growth strategies and not emergency stop-gap measures. Up to $250,000.
To contact Valley Heartland CFDC, https://www.valleycfdc.com/services
Small Business Advisory Centre (SBAC)
Co-located in the Valley Heartland office, SBAC provides business advisory services to start-up and existing small businesses. Services include but are not limited to:
- A comprehensive walk-in resource centre with business literature/advisory materials
- Information on registering a business name, HST, CRA, Employment Standards Act, EHT, WSIB, CPP, and information on hiring employees
- Business plan support
- Ongoing workshops + training
To contact the Small Business Advisory Centre – https://smallbizcentre.ca/
The Chamber of Commerce
Another resource for your business is the Chamber of Commerce!
There are many reasons to join your local Chamber no matter where you are in the life cycle of your business.
Chamber membership brings enhanced credibility to your business. You can actually increase positive perception among customers and business leaders when you are identified as a member of the chamber of commerce. As a member, your business profile will be shared with members in our Chamber newsletter package, featured on the Chamber website and your business will be featured on the Chamber social media. The Chamber also offers exclusive networking opportunities and professional development to members including Coffee at the Chamber, our Business at Breakfast, After Five Mixers and Mayor’s lunch series.
As a member of the Chamber, your business can reach potential clients through member exclusive advertising and social media channels as well as in-person referrals. Every day the Chamber receives calls and walk-in requests for vendors referrals and services and we always refer Chamber Members first! The Chamber also offers ribbon-cutting events for members only and help promote these events to local media to help gain publicity for your business.
Finally, as a member, your business will get access to exclusive discounts and services with affinity partners and other local member businesses as well as the opportunity to save on exclusive insurance offerings and group benefits.
All this in addition to acting as the Voice of Business and representing your business concerns to all levels of government.