A note from our Executive Director
Reflecting on the last month, I am struck by the power of our many communities to connect, to collaborate and to create solutions to this challenging, ever-changing situation. Since March 13th, an incredible team of volunteers and I have been working hard to tighten the net of support for those hardest hit by the economic impacts of this crisis. We led a three-pronged approach:
- Convening standing calls with stakeholders from government, business, the charitable sector and frontline service organizations serving the CRD to increase communication and support a coordinated response;
- Building and launching www.covid19communityconnect.ca to amplify the support, asks and offers emerging from the community and these calls;
- Creating the Community Support Fund to help local small businesses (read on to learn more)
We also joined the City of Victoria, the Chamber, the Downtown Victoria Business Association and ThinkLocal First in calling for action to support commercial tenants and landlords stuck in an impossible situation. You can read our editorial here.
Alongside all of this, programs continued (virtually) and loans were filled. Most importantly, our “why” for doing this work became clearer than ever: the need to connect entrepreneurs with the support and capital they need because when they thrive, our communities thrive and we are collectively more resilient.
All that to say I could not be more grateful to serve our community through my role with Community Micro Lending and I’m excited to share this month’s updates with you.
As always, I would love to connect and hear your ideas for supporting our community at this time. You can reach me by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at 250-216-2605. In the meantime, I hope you and your loved ones are staying safe and connected. We are all in this together.
All the best,
Community Micro Lending was founded during the 2009 financial crisis and the need to connect local entrepreneurs with accessible capital is more important than ever. Last fall Nancy Wyeth returned as our loan director and we made a number of new loans to locals starting and growing new businesses. As COVID-19 began disrupting the economy, we’ve been working hard to ensure our loans continue to help those who need it most.
We are pausing applications to our core loan program to focus on launching our Community Support Fund (see below). We anticipate an increased demand for accessible, community-sourced loans as restrictions ease and the community rebuilds. Stay tuned for its reopening and consider supporting the Community Support Fund at this time.
Community Support Fund
Yesterday we launched Phase 1 of the Community Support Fund, our campaign to help small enterprises in the Capital Regional District impacted by COVID-19. Our goal in Phase 1 is to raise $50,000 and distribute these funds to an initial round of applicants who need help bridging the gap to recovery.
EY+ Winter Cohort
After a successful switch to online learning (including small group expert coaching) the Winter 2020 EY+ Cohort gathered online to present their business plans. Congrats to the cohort and thank you to our volunteer coaches! Thank you to the Citi Foundation for making this opportunity possible.
Entrepreneur Training for Newcomers
Our Entrepreneur Training program for newcomers offered in partnership with VIRCS pivoted to virtual delivery and classes continue through the spring. Thank you to our funders, the City of Victoria, for making this possible.