Latest News

Community Futures Central Island looking to expand in Ladysmith

CFCI is a developmental lender that offer personalized loans for small businesses


Community Futures Central Island, (CFCI), is looking to offer Ladysmith’s small business owners an alternative to banks and credit unions.

“Over the years we’ve had a number of different clients from the Ladysmith area. As of late, there hasn’t been as many as we would like,” Leslie Sutton, marketing manager for CFCI said.

CFCI has been around for 35 years, and is a developmental lender that offer personalized loans for small businesses. They are funded by the federal government, and have flexibility to meet small business owners where they’re at.

Aside from their loan services, CFCI offers business counselling and advisory services to help small businesses grow their business. They also have an entrepreneur in residence program where an entrepreneur coaches small business owners. Clients do not need to have loans with CFCI to use their advisory services.

“We also have the ability to work in collaboration with banks and credit unions,” Sutton said.

“It could be a brick and mortar situation where a credit union or bank looks at actually financing the purchase of a building, or renovations etc. But then people need more money because they need to maybe do some lease hold improvements, buy some stock, or they need to do a marketing campaign, or build a website, and they’re not able to do that.”

Sutton said that CFCI can leverage businesses up to 90 or 100 percent, which gives small businesses a greater access to funds. CFCI has the ability to finance sole proprietors with business loans rather than through their personal finances. Sutton said CFCI is flexible on loan repayment schedules and can tailor schedules to individual businesses.

CFCI has done larger loans. They have the ability to amortize loans up to 25 years to reduce payments. After five years, clients can renegotiate the amortization, provided they have the cash flow to cover the loan payments. In the event that a client cannot afford their loan payment, CFCI will help their clients through the process and form a repayment plan that protects the client’s credit.

“We always say to our clients if you’re having problems or you’re struggling we don’t want to be the last to know, we want to be the first to know. Some times we can help clients out — maybe there’s a way we can reduce payments or stop payments for a period of time to help them… We want to build the relationship and be able to help clients succeed,” Sutton said.

Many small business owners find it difficult to leave work during regular business hours. With this in mind, CFCI offers some of their services directly at their clients’ businesses.

“If somebody’s in their business and they need to have a conversation nothing stops us from coming in and visiting at a time that’s convenient for them,” Sutton said.

CFCI is actively looking for clients in Ladysmith. For more information on CFCI services and programs visit:


Business After Business Success

Thanks to everyone who joined our Community Futures Central Vancouver Island team and the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce team for Business After Business Oct 29, 2019.

We met new friends and caught up with old friends. It was a hallway party, a boardroom party and a kitchen party...all in one evening.

Cindy, David and Patrica, three of the many volunteer Board of Directors who dropped by that evening. More fun photos here.


Our Newest Committee Member Helping Others

He's at it again! One of our newest committee members, Slava from 4th Street Panago Pizza donated $1000, pizza coupons AND pizza for all the kids at Fresh Start: Back to school event . 

The annual Fresh Start program is fundraising and collecting items for young students, including backpacks, books and clothes. Any money donated will be given to parent groups who already work hard to provide supplies for students who can’t afford them. Creator Dave Lawrence says it’s been a joy to see the program grow by “leaps and bounds” in such a short time. “It’s such a rewarding thing to do. You see people who came one year and then are in a better situation volunteering to help the next year." Every student who comes to pick up supplies also gets a fresh haircut for the first day of school, for the cost of reading a book to the barber. Supplies can be dropped off at That 50’s Barbershop on Victoria Crescent, downtown Nanaimo. Money can be donated online.


Volunteer of the Year

We are excited to announce Ed Poli as the Community Futures Central Island's Volunteer of the Year for 2019. CFCI relies on community business leaders to volunteer and represent our region's communities and economic sector voicing the needs and concerns of constituents. Poli's broad understanding and balanced perspective enabled him to make a meaningful contribution to members, staff and clients.

"It is very easy to support the nomination of Chair Ed Poli for Volunteer of the Year.   Ed has been an essential influence in the direction of Community Futures Central Island.  He is forward thinking and understands our role to best serve development in the central island region. With his great respect for board and committee members along with a great sense of humour, Ed made our organization effective to meet the challenges facing future growth in Central Vancouver Island.  We feel comforted knowing that Ed is close by and will continue to lend his expertise on our important committees,"commented David Mailloux, Vice-Chair, CFCI Board of Directors.

Community Futures Central Island holds its AGM

Community Futures Chair, Ed Poli wished to thank Wendy Smitka for her years of service on the Community Futures Central Island Board of Directors.  Both Wendy and Ed have served their nine year maximum tenure.  The new Board of Directors is comprised of nine continuing members.  We were pleased to welcome three new members to our Loans Committee.  David Mailloux was appointed as the Chair of CFCI with his tenure effective July 1, 2019.  David served as Vice Chair for two years and has been on the board and involved in committee work for six years.

Our 'Year in Review' reflects on our collaborations and community engagement as well as our investments in small business.  To view a copy of our report click here.

What is the Export Navigator Program?

The Export Navigator Program offers businesses access to community-based export specialists who can provide a personalized, step-by-step approach to exporting and help connect your business to the market information, export programs, financial services, and business development experts it needs at every stage of the process. There is no cost to the business owner for these services.

Benefits of Expanding Your Markets

Diversifies Your Customer Base - Expanding to new markets increases the size of your target market, may broaden your product offering and offset seasonal fluctuations in sales.

Increases Profitability - Increased production generally leads to economies of scale and decreased cost per unit, which increases your profit margins.

Fosters Innovation - Expanding to new markets fosters innovation in your goods and services, which enhances your competitiveness.

Export Navigator Services

  • Export readiness assessment
  • Business needs assessment
  • Market entry strategy support
  • Export workbook and information
  • Expert advice and guidance
  • Streamlined service connections
  • Ongoing market entry support

Who is Eligible?

Small and medium-sized businesses operating in the following regions:

Cariboo (Based in Prince George)

Community Futures Fraser Fort George   email Charles   Direct: 250.960.0246  1566 Seventh Ave., Prince George, BC V2L394

North East BC (Based in Dawson Creek)

Community Futures Peace Liard  email Lilia Direct: 250.261.3148  904-102 Ave., Dawson Creek, BC V1G 2B7

Kootenay Boundary (Based in Nelson)

Community Futures Central Kootenay email Michael  Direct: 250.354.7857  201-514 Vernon St., Nelson, BC V1L4E7

Vancouver Island - North (Based in Port Alberni)

Community Futures Alberni-Clayoquot  email Brady  Direct: 250.585.6004  4757 Tebo Ave., Port Alberni, BC V9Y 8A9

Vancouver Island - South (Based in Duncan)

Community Futures Cowichan  email Fabrizio   Office: 250.746.1004 135 Third St., Duncan, BC V9L 1R9

North Okanagan (Based in Vernon)

Community Futures North Okanagan  email Ken  Office: 250.545.2215 3105 33 St., Vernon, BC V1T 9P7

Pacific Northwest (Based in Prince Rupert)

Community Futures Pacific Northwest email Mietka  Office: 250.622.2332 100-515 Third Ave. West, Prince Rupert, BC V8J 1L9

Women and Indigenous business owners are encouraged to contact:

Community Futures Central Interior First Nations email Daphne  Office: 250.828.9833 208-345 Chief Alex Thomas Way, Kamloops, BC V2H 1H1

Women’s Enterprise Centre

Email office  Office: 800.643.7014 Suite 54, 601 West Cordova StreetVancouver, BC, V6B 1G1

For businesses in the Lower Mainland, Greater Victoria and other areas outside of the service areas, there are resources to assist you with exporting. For more information please email.



Pathway to a Successful Business Sale 

Your business could be your single most important financial asset. You have led its development and growth, with patience and care.  Now that the time has come to consider selling it, patience and care are even more vital. 

Stage 1: Plan

Give yourself time. On average it takes close to 2 years for a business to sell. While planning the sale, don’t take your foot of the gas. A declining business is worth less and will quickly become unattractive to buyers.  Take the time to ask and answer questions around the sale value of your business and to decide whether a friendly buyer, such as an employee or family member is ready to jump in. 

Stage 2: Prepare

Buyers will always ask to see financial statements prior to entering a purchase agreement, which could include a combination of asset values, income statement, or balance sheet. As well, buyers will need procedures, employee roles, and customer/supplier information for a smooth transition.  If you’re the gasoline that’s powering the entire engine, you’ll need it all written down so the business can run without you. 

Stage 3: Market

No one knows as much about your business as you do. Even though you will be busy dealing with more pressing matters, it’s important to add the “staging’ and the ‘sizzle’ when marketing your business for sale. While you should remain open to any buyer that comes your way, marketing efforts need to be focused on getting your business in front of the kinds of buyers that are most likely to give you what you want. 

Stage 4: Connect

It takes a village to sell a business. It is extremely helpful to have knowledgeable resources like a realtor, business broker or experienced adviser on your team; someone who can suggest a way around an impasse during negotiations and point out the small but important details and considerations.  Essentially, creating a win /win situation can make the difference between success and failure. 

Currently, it’s a buyer’s market.  If you are not ready to accept a reasonable offer you’re better off not listing until ready. Patience is key! If you try to offload your business in a hurry, or without preparing adequately, you won’t realize the return you are hoping for. 

Jolynn Green is the Executive Director of Community Futures Central Island who specializes in small business loans. Jolynn can be reached at or 250-591-7499



During the unveiling of Budget 2019, The Government of Canada announced the Canadian Experiences Fund (CEF), a national program geared toward supporting communities across our country as they create, improve or enhance tourism products, facilities and experiences.

How it Works

The Canadian Experiences Fund is delivered in British Columbia by Western Economic Diversification Canada. The fund is part of our government’s renewed efforts to support the tourism sector by investing in the types of products and experiences that cater to Canada’s strengths, while also growing tourism beyond major cities and the summer season.

Investments made through the Canadian Experiences Fund are focused on the following five categories:

  • Expand winter and shoulder-season by funding projects like onsite experiences development, tours, excursions, special events and tourism facilities
  • Grow tourism in rural and remote communities by investing in projects such as destination development planning, adventure, eco- and agri-tourism, local product development, or rural and remote tourism facilities
  • Increase Indigenous tourism by investing in such projects as market readiness, onsite experiences development, developing a line of consumer products, tours, festivals and special events
  • Promote LGBTQ2+ communities, by supporting train the trainer programs, projects such as attractions, special events and festivals as well as market readiness
  • Boost culinary and farm-to-table experiences, by funding projects in areas including culinary tourism trails, farmers markets, and onsite experiences development in various locations

Who Can Apply?

The Canadian Experiences Fund is open to a wide spread of organizations. These include non-profits, for-profit businesses, industry associations, and local, provincial or indigenous governments.


Non-profit organizations can normally request up to $500,000. Funding requests above this amount will only be considered on an exceptional basis. CEF funding can be up to 100 per cent of eligible costs.


Incorporated for-profit organizations (less than 500 full-time employees) can request funding of less than $100,000 with confirmed funding from all other sources (CEF funding can be up to 50% of the proposed project costs, with the remaining funds coming from other non-government sources).

How to Apply

Interested applicants are invited to contact Western Economic Diversification Canada via email, attaching the Project Summary Form.


Back to Top

Communities Served

Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Gabriola Island, Lantzville, Nanoose, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Bowser, French Creek, Lasqueti Island
Click for the BBB Business Review of this Loans - Small Business in Nanaimo BC


Community Futures Central Island
#14 - 327 Prideaux Street
Nanaimo, BC
V9R 2N4

T: 250.591.7499
T: 888.303.2232
T: 877.585.5385