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Smiths Falls small business support programs drives $100,000 to businesses, new businesses open amid pandemic

by | Nov 30, 2020 | Local News | 1 comment

The Town of Smiths Falls is pleased to report that municipal and local programs and funding opportunities have driven approximately $100,000 to small businesses, with $50,000 coming from the Small Business Support program.

The COVID-19 Small Business Support program offered access to one-time grants of up to $1,500 to businesses with demonstrable expenses related to COVID-19, with a maximum funding budget of $50,000. The program’s intent was to support businesses working to modify, build capacity or adopt the technological or operational changes needed to restructure their business during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.

As of Oct. 30, the full $50,000 was delivered to 36 Smiths Falls’ small businesses who applied for the program.

“We were so pleased to be able to offer this support for small businesses,” said Jennifer Miller, Manager of Economic Development and Tourism for the Town of Smiths Falls. “It was wonderful to know that with each cheque we delivered we were offering tangible support to our local business community to help them through this challenging time.”

Other programs launched by the Town of Smiths Falls and partners include the following:
• Smiths Falls Shop Local subscription box (Smiths Falls & District Chamber of
Commerce and Smiths Falls Downtown Business Association)
• Smiths Falls PICNIC program (Town initiative)
• Merry & Bright Smiths Falls (Town initiative)

Including the Smiths Falls COVID-19 Small Business Support program, these initiatives have driven nearly $100,000 in direct revenue to Smiths Falls’ businesses and entrepreneurs.

This Smiths Falls Shop Local program launched in October and to date has raised nearly $25,000 through the sale of 160 subscription boxes. The PICNIC program was launched in June and through the sales of more than 400 boxes the program generated $17,000 in income for businesses. It’s estimated the regional economic impact for the PICNIC program was $100,000.

Miller explained these municipal and partner programs were intended to offer short-term support for businesses, but that it’s up to citizens to continue to shop local throughout the recovery period.

“We all need to continue to support our local businesses to ensure they are still here for us when this is all over,” Miller said.
The business support funding program and local initiatives were launched in an effort to bolster the local economy and assist businesses through the recovery period and were supported at the staff and council level in Smiths Falls.

“The Mayor’s Task Force for Economic Recovery met numerous times earlier in the pandemic to pursue and consider every option possible to support our business community,” said Mayor Shawn Pankow. “Business, and especially small business, are the lifeblood of our community and the task force and council have been committed to doing what we can to provide critical support and help as much as we could during these challenging times.”

Feedback gathered through surveying of small businesses by the Town of Smiths Falls indicated that 37 per cent of small businesses were unsure whether or not their business would survive the pandemic. Nearly 70 per cent of survey respondents indicated they had experienced significant economic impact from COVID-19.

In spite of the challenges brought by the pandemic, Smiths Falls has nevertheless seen approximately half a dozen new businesses open in the community, a demonstration of the faith entrepreneurs have in the viability of operating a business in Smiths Falls.

“Town staff and municipal partners have been working hard to do everything within our power to support our business community, but we’ve also seen tremendous grass roots support from the community itself,” Miller said. “The response to the pandemic in Smiths Falls is an example of how our community has come together to support each other – it’s an indicator of Smiths Falls’ resiliency and tenacity during trying times.”

For more information about Smiths Falls’ programs and initiatives to support economic development during COVID-19, please visit www.smithsfalls.ca/public-safety/covid-19-coronavirus/.

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