[HALIFAX, NS] – Bernard Valcourt, Minister of State for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) and La Francophonie, told the Annual General Meeting of the Atlantic Association of Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs) that he sees CBDCs playing a leadership role in helping grow Atlantic Canada's economy.
"It is no secret that job creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity are our top priorities," Valcourt says. "The CBDCs' contribution to the economic development of communities in Atlantic Canada, one of the most rural regions of the country, is significant. In each of the past five years, CBDCs have assisted small and medium enterprises with over $50 million in loans, all with the focus of building stronger communities."
To show its commitment towards the CBDCs, Valcourt points to the provision of permanent, ongoing funding to the Community Futures (CF) Program in Budget 2010. Through ACOA, the federal government continues to invest up to $12.6 million per year in the Atlantic CBDC network.
According to a May 2009 impact study by the Conference Board of Canada, for every $1 spent by the CF on loans, $4.20 is earned in Canada.
"I also convey to the CBDCs a strong message that I fully support their efforts to strengthen their governance and ensure a greater level of accountability to the communities they represent," Valcourt says. "I challenge them to be as engaged and connected to businesses in their communities as they can be. They should not be afraid to tap into their ideas and talents."