GUELPH – Local businesses backed by a $ 1 million emergency loan program funded by the County of Wellington, nearly all manage to repay the funds.
The Keep Well Fund was established in March 2020 to serve businesses in Wellington County during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Managed by the two Community Futures Development Corporations for Wellington County – Wellington Waterloo Community Futures and the Saugeen Economic Development Corporation – The fund distributed $ 891,400 through 60 loans with an average loan amount of $ 15,108 and supported an estimated 290 jobs, according to an employee report prepared by Crystal Ellis, director of economic development for the county.
“That council, when we got into the pandemic … came to the table very quickly with that million dollars,” remarked Alderman George Bridge, who heads the county’s economic development committee, at the September 30th session.
Of the principal advanced funds, just over $ 141,000 has been repaid by June 30th.
Of the 60 loans, “only one is at risk of non-payment” of a “very small” amount, Bridge said.
“I think we saved a lot of companies through this program,” said Bridge.
“No payments were made on a dubious $ 8,000 loan set up at the end of 2020, and there is still a risk of non-repayment and interest of $ 295 is owed,” the report said.
Bridge noted that the Wellington County Recovery Grant program is also administered by the two community future organizations.
The program provided 158 grants totaling just over $ 150,000 to companies in the county to help with pandemic-related expenses such as personal protective equipment, Security supplies, support services, and physical and technological customization.
“We are sending a letter on behalf of the County and the Western Ontario Wardens (Caucus) to the local assembly’s offices recognizing the exceptional support of the Community Futures Organization,” said Bridge.
“It was a great organization and they are doing so much with the little money the federal government gives them.”