Northern Development Initiative Trust chief executive officer Janine North spoke in 100 Mile House recently about numerous funding opportunities available to the community.
In her address to South Cariboo Chamber of Commerce members, she talked about how more of this money can be accessed by community groups and businesses – and how to go about doing that successfully.
North says almost 75 per cent of the projects awarded funding are in communities with fewer than 5,000 people.
“This isn’t a trust that’s created for a large community like Prince George, it’s created for our communities the smallest of which is less than 300 people. The average size of the community would be comparable to 100 Mile House, or a bit smaller.”
A non-profit Crown corporation that uses its return on investment for its 14 annual funding programs, she notes those interest rates have been “doing well” for NDIT, with last year at 8.2 per cent and averaging 7.6 per cent over the past three years.
North explains this return is on a capital base of about $205 million, invested in stocks and bonds.
One of the programs well-used in the South Cariboo is the Community Hall and Recreation Facilities Program, which she says has been accessed by about a dozen groups.
This amounts to $3.2 million invested in local fund-contributing grants (in various amounts) for 65 projects valued at more than $8.7 million, North adds.
“The funding programs are focused on three things: Building Capacity in Communities, Infrastructure in Communities and Supporting Business.”
However, she told the audience some programs aren’t being fully utilized in the 100 Mile House area, especially in the business community.
“We’d love to see more businesses, and it would be the manufacturers and businesses that are involved in the supply chain to major industry. Whether it be for mining, forestry or energy – those businesses should be taking a look at our website at www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca. We can help them with the consulting they need and the expertise to expand their businesses.”
She adds NDIT also works with companies’ banks to provide loan guarantees for buying or “machining” equipment to increase productivity and output.
“There is a new program we’d really like to see the 100 Mile area take advantage of every year, and that is a Business Facade Improvement Program. It is up to $20,000 and is available to every community and regional district across the trust.”
Individual businesses can apply for up to $5,000 for building facade upgrades through their local government, providing they put in at least $5,000 of their own, she explains.
“The other new program we’d really like to see [accessed] in the 100 Mile area … is called Supply Chain Connector. It’s a supplier-contractor database where all the businesses can register onto a searchable website, which will showcase their business to major industry.”
North notes this could potentially target Spectra Energy, New Prosperity Mine and Imperial Metals.
This “massive database” will be a free to businesses, and she says it can also provide a website presence for those businesses that don’t currently have one.
“It will make them more accessible to major projects and procurement companies.”
North adds a current example is local companies “getting on the radar” of the Rio Tinto Alcan project in Kitimat.
“They’ve exhausted the contractor/suppliers within quite a large geographic area and they’re looking farther afield, but they don’t have relationships with businesses in 100 Mile.”
The website application involves a 10-minute questionnaire to self-register and the database will initially be populated with 1,500 businesses to get started. To inquire about or apply for the database, call NDIT at 250-561-2525.
She encourages non-profit groups and businesses to also check out the NDIT funding opportunities.
“We are there to ‘help get to yes’ for funding.”
To access program funding information and applications, visit www.northerndevelopment.bc.ca.