A lifeline to local businesses By Randy Lucenti The Orillia Area Community Development Corporation (CDC) has been an integral part of the business landscape in Simcoe County for the past 31 years, assisting more than 40,000 businesses. The CDC is a federally (Industry Canada) supported not-for-profit organization, working with community partners to develop and sustain the local economy through business financing, business counseling and community economic development projects. Although Orillia-based, the CDC office on Peter Street is available to assist businesses throughout the region and it’s a great place for business owners in Severn Township to find a variety of business-related services. Some business owners in our area may not have considered CDC for help with their business ventures but the office in Orillia encourages them to do so.
“We’ve discussed dropping the ‘Orillia Area’ part of our name because we assist not only Orillia, but the townships of Severn, Oro-Medonte and Ramara as well as the Chippewas of Rama First Nation,” explained CDC general manager, Wendy Timpano. The work load at the Orillia CDC is a heavy one. Under the direction of a board of directors, Timpano, five full-time staff and two special project contractors have handed out $23.5 million in loans over the years. They currently assist upwards of 50 businesses each month in a variety of ways. Wendy says the loans are an important part of what they do, especially for new business start-ups. The CDC manages an annual portfolio of $4 million, providing a financial lifeline to many enterprises thanks to its more flexible pay-back options and its custom business-oriented policies. But they also assist business owners with many other services.
In addition to financial assistance, the CDC offers a variety of services to local businesses including workshops, seminars and individual mentoring.
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Wendy Timpano has been at the helm of the Orillia Area Community Development Corporation (CDC) since 2010. The CDC has been around for the past 31 years and has assisted more than 40,000 area businesses. “We help with business registrations, business plans, a variety of business related workshops and seminars, as well as mentoring services.” She added that these are just some of the services offered. Business owners can count on the CDC to answer a variety of business-related questions or, at the very least, staff will point business owners in the right direction. Getting a feel for what businesses and business people in the region are thinking and what is on their wish lists is important to the CDC. With that in mind, they have launched BR+E (Business Retention + Expansion), a major project on the local Continued on page 19
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