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We threw a retirement party!

Wanda retired after 35+ years supporting our Community Futures Central Island office and central Island small businesses.

Wanda became involved before Community Futures was born!  She began her journey in 1979 as an Accounts Officer.  She joined the The Nanaimo Community Employment Advisory Society (NCEAS) which was formed under The Community Employment Strategy in 1975.  The general objective was to open up employment opportunities for persons experiencing difficulty finding and keeping satisfactory employment.  Ironically Don MacMillan was her Executive Director who she deeply admired and he is the man who this award commemorates.

After 40 years of dedicated service to community economic development Wanda has evolved as has the organization.  She has touched every aspect and person who has walked through the doors of the organization.  She has acted as a finance person, reception, business analyst and self employment coordinator… when the time has called she has stepped up in the time of need when Executive Directors were in transition to provide the continuity that has kept the longest operating CF in Canada moving forward. 

Western Growth Strategic Engagement Paper

The new global economy is transforming the way entrepreneurs operate their businesses. In fact, changes in today’s competitive landscape are driving businesses to rethink their strategies to reach beyond traditional boundaries. This is why the Government of Canada welcomes your input on the future of western Canada’s economy. Together, we will develop a Western Canada Growth Strategy that will help lay the foundation for our long-term success five years from now, ten years from now, and beyond. This engagement paper seeks public input to help develop the most effective strategy for economic growth. It is important that the views of those most directly involved help shape the foundation of this Western Canada Growth Strategy.

Click here to find out more on demographics, First Nations business development, GDP growth and stability, Labour market and more...

Canada announces $20M fund for women entrepreneurs

New federal program will provide up to $100,000 for female business owners to grow their operations

Women entrepreneurs in Canada will now have access to $20-million in federal cash, thanks to a new fund announced by the government late last week. The Women Entrepreneurship Fund, part of the Women Entrepreneurship Strategy announced with the 2018 budget, is intended to help female business owners of small- and medium-sized businesses grow their companies and increase access to international markets.

“Women still face unique and significant barriers when it comes to starting their own business,” Mary Ng, minister of small business and export promotion, said at the announcement in Delta on Friday, Oct. 19. “Women are called upon to do more domestic work, they’re more likely to be shut out of investment opportunities and they struggle to find the mentors … for the support and advice that they need,” she continued.

Read the full announcement here

Tricky Halloween Season Can Be a Treat for Small Business

Halloween may never again be like it was when we were young, when we kids would run rampant for hours with nary an adult in sight, trick-or-treating ourselves into sugar oblivion.

These days, it's the adults who are out running around on Halloween. According to the National Retail Federation, since 2009, adult spending on Halloween has doubled to now more than $9 billion a year, half of all adults bought costumes in 2017. And about 20% of us plan on outfitting our pets in costume.

As a small-business owner, instead of letting the Halloween bogeyman scare you, get in the spirit: decorate the store, hand out treats, hold a costume contest, offer Halloween specials and deals.

Halloween has become such an event that you need to ride this wave rather than resist it. Doing so sure is a lot more fun than saying "Boo!"


Community Futures Central Island wins big at Provincial Conference

We are so excited to announce Community Futures Central Island’s (CFCI)  board member Adam Hawryluk and staff member Wanda Zink, as well as our CFCI office each won awards at the Community Futures BC Provincial Conference this September in Merritt, BC.

Wanda Zink was awarded the Don McMillan award for her continued contribution to the Community Futures Network (CFN). She began her journey with Community Futures in 1979 and, after 40 years, she has touched every aspect and person who has walked through the doors, acting as a finance person, reception, business analyst and self employment coordinator, providing the continuity that has kept the longest operating CF moving forward. She was instrumental in the development of numerous systems, policies and procedures that allowed the organization to remain relevant and forward for four decades.

As Jolynn Green, current Executive Director (ED) of CFCI expresses, “Wanda is a champion of change management, having worked with four EDs, numerous staff, hundreds of volunteers, several funding agencies and changing governments.  Her ability to stay steady, believe in the vision and mission of the organization and the CF program is a testament to her tenacity and commitment.”

Adam Hawryluk won the Al McCracken award for his outstanding involvement, business skills and development expertise for continually making incredible contributions to the Community Futures Network (CFN). Currently he is on the Board of Directors for CFCI and previously was a member of CFCI Marketing Committee. At 35 Hawryluk will be one of the inspiring millennial generation who will bring new thinking to move the CFN forward.

“Adam’s background in finances and mortgages as well as his linkage to the Young Professionals of Nanaimo helps to keep us aware of new initiatives and thinking. He has been a positive influence and keen talent for the organization. Most importantly his leadership and problem solving skills are true assets,” states Ed Poli, Chair.

Our CFCI office was exceedingly proud to have walked away with the Investment Fund Portfolio award for demonstrating a robust Investment Portfolio with significant growth. At CFCI, we have seen exponential growth in our portfolio and attribute this to our innovative marketing strategy along with our prominent presence in the community. We have worked to build our community relationships with local financial institutions resulting in an increase in referrals and joint financing ventures.

Community Futures is a non-profit, small business development organization – based in the community and for the community - that provides business loans to small and medium sized business in rural communities where access to credit is a challenge to start or grow a business. Our wide variety of business loans and tools are designed to help entrepreneurs and small business owners achieve their goals.



INSPIRE - October 1, 2018

Meet the Small Business Community, Hear from B.C.’s Most Successful Entrepreneurs and Celebrate the launch of the Small Business BC Awards! 

Use promo code  INSPIRE20 for a 20% discount off general admission tickets until sales close.

We are delighted to announce our 8th Annual INSPIRE event featuring an evening of networking, celebration and education, that will take place on October 1, 2018 at Vancouver’s iconic Science World. Come and join us to launch the 2019 Small Business BC Awards alongside 400 of BC’s leading entrepreneurs and CEOs, small and medium-sized business owners, government representatives and industry influencers.

The 8th Annual INSPIRE will feature complimentary drinks, canapés, networking, an interactive panel session and keynote from Ratana Stephens, Co-Founder and Co-CEO of Nature’s Path as we gather to recognize the important contributions of small businesses to our local economy and our local communities.

Full event details here

Mount Arrowsmith Blonde Wins Best Golden Ale in the World

Community Futures Central Island's  new clients Mount Arrowsmith Brewing Company from  Parksville wins big. Stay tuned - they are still in the running to win Best Pale Beer in the World. Winners announced in September 

NORWICH, UK – The winners have been announced for the first two rounds of the World Beer Awards for 2018, and a number of Canadian breweries are represented in the results.

In the first round, beers were judged in each country, and Country Winners were awarded in each style, along with Gold, Silver, and Bronze runners-up where enough beers were entered and reached a sufficient points threshold. 

Double Gold: Arrowsmith Blonde for best Golden Ale IN THE WORLD!!! It will compete with 16 other beers for Best Pale Beer in the World. Bronze: Sea Run Saison in the Belgian-style Tripel.

In the second round, all of the Country Winners in each style were judged against each other, and overall Style Winners were selected. The Canadian winners in this round include the following:

IPA – Specialty: Muskoka Berry Springer
Lager – Hoppy Pilsener: Camerons 12 Mile IPL
Pale Beer – Altbier: Les Trois Mousquetaires Sticke
Pale Beer – Belgian Style Ale: Unibroue 25e Blonde de l’Enfer
Pale Beer – Golden Ales:  Mount Arrowsmith Blonde Ale
Pale Beer – Low Alcohol: Partake Brewing Pale Ale
Sour Beer – Gose: Microbrasserie La Pécheresse Miss. Ghost

Judging for the third round, which puts the Style Winners against each other in overall style categories – including Dark Beer, Flavoured Beer, IPA, Lager, Pale Beer, Sour Beer, Specialty Beer, Stout & Porter, and Wheat Beer – to select the World’s Best Beers took place earlier this week, and the results will be announced on September 20th.

Community Futures and Gabriola Chamber of Commerce Collaboration

Gabriola Island faces unique challenges for business growth and housing for staff due to limitations and bylaws enforced by the Islands Trust (IT). The Islands Trust is a unique federation of local governments serving islands in the Salish Sea which are responsible for preserving and protecting the islands' unique amenities and environment. A conversation between Green and Hatfield, after the 2016 disbandment of NEDC and Tourism Nanaimo, around how “we” should work together to address the challenges Gabriola faces for business growth and the resources CF brings to the table, moved to the formation of a group to navigate the changes to tourism and business development of Gabriola, Decourcy and Mudge Islands.

Community Futures Central Island (CFCI) worked closely with Gabriola Island Chamber of Commerce (GICC) which is a member organization within the CFCI region. CFCI Executive Director Jolynn Green and Gloria Hatfield, President of the GICC collaborated to create a strategic plan for economic development - the Strategy for Economic Prosperity on Gabriola (SEPG) - resulting in a three - year delivery agreement with the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN).

The initial funding is going towards a branding exercise and setting up the governance structure. "As soon as the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation collapsed, everything that they had about Gabriola vanished," said Howard Houle, Gabriola Island director. "So the people here have to start from square one. There are no photos, there's no website, there is nothing."

It was very satisfying to see the results of many conversations transformed into SEPG.  The creation of SEPG connected deeply with the CFCI mission to assist and encourage the enhancement of economic and community development of the Central Island residents/business owners.  CFCI encouraged GICC to apply for monies from the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET), taking part in the process that included collaborations with Gabriola Island businesses to share intellectual and in-kind resources among many organizations and stakeholders.

With SEPG ready to be implemented, ICET’s “Quick Start” stream of the Economic Development Readiness Program provided $5,000 to enable the GICC to move forward with the development of the organizational structure and human resources required to action the plan. “When stakeholders see plans quickly coming to life that energy leads to increased community engagement and partnerships, the first step in community-based revitalization.” said ICET Chair Phil Kent.

Further collaborations resulted in the BC Rural Dividend Program (BCRDP) providing $100,000 to the GICC who will use the monies to develop a homegrown strategy for economic prosperity on Gabriola Island. Newly hired Community Economic Development Officer (CEDO) Julie Sperber had been volunteering effectively for years as a mentor to entrepreneurs and will now be responsible for balancing economic development with positive social impact and sustainable practices. Untold  hours of hard work resulted in:

  • $6000  from RDN - start the process
  • $29,925 from RDN  for 2017 - kept the train moving
  • CFCI wrote the proposal for $5000 from ICET,  a $5,000 from RDN and then $65,000 from RDN based on SEPG for 2018 and 2019 - to develop an economic development strategic plan
  • CFCI wrote the proposal for $5,000 from ICET -  organizational structure and HR required to action the plan
  • CFCI wrote the proposal for $100,000 from  BCRDP - to develop a strategy for economic prosperity

According to Hatfield, “this is unprecedented support that we are receiving from the Province and  the RDN, and from organizations such as CFCI and ICET.” CFCI has been there through the entire process and continue to support stakeholders with bylaw, policy and procedure rewrites,  and governance training. Green acts as a mentor for the newly appointed CEDO on a fourth application for ICET. According to Cheryl McLay, (Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, Regional Economic Operations Branch), our application for RDF funding presented the model proposal;  hence, other communities are approaching us to assist with economic development proposals.



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Communities Served

Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Gabriola Island, Lantzville, Nanoose, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Bowser, French Creek, Lasqueti Island
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Community Futures Central Island
#14 - 327 Prideaux Street
Nanaimo, BC
V9R 2N4

T: 250.591.7499
T: 888.303.2232
T: 877.585.5385