Marketing materials developed in collaboration with Laura Balance Media Group have been posted on the Community Futures British Columbia website. They have also been distributed throughout the Network via email.
The Marketing committee continues to call for client stories from individual offices that can be used in the provincial marketing campaign. LBMG will pitch these stories to provincial media.
Networks and Partnerships Committee
This committee continues to focus on rural economic development forums, and to establish ways to develop and improve support and services to Aboriginal clients.
The government is establishing a Rural BC Advisory committee for the Minister of Jobs, Tourism and Skills Training, Shirley Bond, who is responsible for rural development. This committee will be allowed to develop its own agenda, but there is a requirement to include support of small businesses. Criteria for membership on this committee have not been made public, the Networks and Partnerships Committee will endeavor to ensure Community Futures representation from different areas of the province.
At a recent meeting of the committee it was reported that several Community Futures representatives attended a Small Business Round table meeting. The meeting was attended by Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business, Naomi Yamamoto, along with Aboriginal entrepreneurs and support staff. The discussion focused on how to best support Aboriginal entrepreneurs with appropriate services.
March 11, 2015, Community Futures British Columbia's Chair and Executive Director will have the opportunity to make a presentation in the provincial legislature. This opportunity will raise awareness of the Community Futures program on the provincial level. MLAs connected to the Network will be consulted to ensure that the presentation is aligned with provincial priorities.
Network members are encouraged to continue to populate the Network Connections Database which is located in the member’s area of the Community Futures website.
Values, Standards and Performance Committee
On December 2, a focus group, comprised of individuals who had completed the survey and volunteered to be in the focus group, met to discuss the Self-Assessment Guide and Network Support Visits. Feedback provided by the focus group will be reviewed by the committee and used to develop recommendations for the Self-Assessment Guide and Network Support Visits.
A Network Support Visit, for a Community Futures office on Vancouver Island, will be carried out in early 2015. This pilot will be used to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the process.
Business Analyst Support Committee
This committee continues to work towards establishing standard documentation relating to syndicated loans. Network members are encouraged to be involved in the development of a process via the message forum on the Community Futures British Columbia website.
Work continues to progress for the automation of the online legal lending manual, which is expected to be available for use in early 2015. There will be three training webinars on the platform.
The storyboard has been completed for the collections training. The training will be delivered by webinar, with experienced Network members participating in role-play.
Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Program
The EDP Committee met on November 13 to review progress. Compared to the second quarter of last year total dollars loaned has improved; 2014 had $309,000 disbursed to 8 businesses for 10 jobs compared to 2013 which had $196,000 disbursed to 7 businesses for 12 jobs.
There have been four requests for EDP funding for client assistance (business coaching) this fiscal, and only two clients have gone ahead with the support. As a result there is a surplus of available funding in the EDP support contract. Committee examined potential uses for this surplus and decided to concentrate on promoting pre and post support and examining other forms of marketing. The EDP Coordinator is creating a roster of Community Futures- approved business coaches for EDP clients to share with the Offices to make the selection process easier.
On Dec 3, International Day of Persons with Disabilities, Michael Bortolotto spoke via webinar sharing his entrepreneurial journey and his tips for persons with disabilities starting businesses. Twenty locations signed on to the webinar live and it was recorded for those who couldn’t attend, and is available on the Community Futures BC YouTube channel
. Invitation to attend the webinar was extended to all 76 WorkBC Employment Services Centres, disability partners and Service Canada.