Huge demand for SMEDCO Covid funding
- NC Raine | October 27, 2020
A new opportunity is helping Métis businesses and entrepreneurs get the help they need to survive during these uncertain times.
The SaskMetis Economic Development Corporation (SMEDCO) is offering a non-repayable impact fund for Métis owned businesses and micro-businesses that were unable to access prior COVID-19 funding opportunities. The fund aims to relieve financial pressure for Métis business while supporting their viability during the pandemic and positioning them for recovery.
“This is incredibly important because it supports the communities and entrepreneurs that haven't had support in the past,” said Monica Brunet, SMEDCO Community Economic Development and Engagement.
“The demand will be huge. I have no doubt that all the money will be spent. It's greatly needed.”
The fund provides a total of $4.3 million, from Indigenous Services Canada, for Métis businesses in Saskatchewan. Recipients will receive a one-time payment in March 2021 and must have been in business since March 2020.
“This is an extraordinary opportunity. We are now able to further support Métis community development corporations, as well (as) businesses such as commercial fishers, artisans, musicians, and home-based businesses in conjunction with small-business week,” said Metis Nation-Saskatchewan President Glen McCallum in statement. “These funds should reach and empower those businesses (...), making an impact in all four corners of the province.”
Within two days of announcing the fund, Brunet said SMEDCO received over 50 emails and calls inquiring about the fund.
“People are totally excited to be able to access some programs to assist them to help them get their businesses going again. People are so grateful that there's something out there that can help them get back on track,” she said.
Métis businesses will now be able to apply for funds they were previously not eligible for in programs like Canada Emergency Business Account (CEBA), Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF), and Business Credit Availability Program (BCAP).
In order to better support Metis-community economic recovery, SMEDCO has also announced a partnership with Northern Research Group (NRG), who will assist them with delivering consulting services and recovery plans to Métis communities whose businesses and economic growth have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. The funding for the initiative will be provided through the $4.3 million fund from Indigenous Services Canada.
“They understand the landscape of the province, so our partnership agreement is a perfect fit,” said Brunet.
“COVID-19 has stifled economic growth for many Métis communities and introduced new challenges,” said Matt Vermette, CEO of NRG. “We are looking forward to working with Métis communities to adapt to those challenges and plan for economic recovery so they can continue the important work of creating wealth and employment opportunities for our fellow Métis citizens.”
Information on the grant program can be found at www.smedco.ca