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Program Will Provide $2 Million Worth of Support for Small Business in Atlantic Canada
Telegraph-Journal, October 18, 2000
By Mark Reid

New Brunswick entrepreneurs have added technical and educational support thanks to a new $10 million privately funded economic development initiative.

The Community Economic Development Technical Assistance Program will provide support for worthy community-based, small-business projects across Canada. It is being managed by Carleton University of Ottawa.

About 21 per cent of the $10 million- about $2.1 million – is to go toward business development in Atlantic Canada.

During its three-year pilot phase, the program helped a group in Saint John create a community learn program for low-income residents.


Seth Asimakos, co-ordinator of the Saint John Human Development Council, said the community lean fund has helped several Saint John residents realize their business dreams.

“We lend [money] to people that don’t have a chance to get credit from the banking institutions,” Mr. Asimakos said.

In one instance, the council gave a loan of $3,000 to a man on social assistance to help him start a company that salvages sunken logs. That man took in $47,000 in his first year of business and expects to make about $100,000 this year.

The program provided the Saint John Community Loan Fund with the technical and educational assistance it needed to get off the ground, Mr. Asimakos said.

“What [the program] has done is provided us with an opportunity,” Mr. Asimakos said. “It’s technical assistance, taking advantage of the experience of others.”

Program co-ordinator Jacques Carriere said the goal of the initiative is to give entrepreneurs the helping hand they need to succeed.


The program is funded in part by the Montreal-based J.W. McConnell Family Foundaton. The foundation will pay $5 million to the program.

Mr. Carriere hopes to raise another $5 million from the private sector.

During its three-year pilot phase, the program lent assistance to nearly 100 communities.

Mr. Carriere announced the Community Economic Development Technical Assistance Program at a national meeting of program officials in Moncton Tuesday.

Prior to the announcement, the program officials heard an address by John Ralston Saul, an essayist and novelist and husband of Governor General Adrienne Clarkson.

Mr. Saul railed against the trend toward globalization and the diminishment of real democracy both at the community, national and international level.

He also stressed the importance of publicly funded education and called the rising student debt burden unacceptable.


Mr. Saul praised New Brunswick, and Moncton in particular, for its bilingual, bicultural harmony.

He cited a recent meeting on social issues, held in Moncton, where “people were speaking English, people were speaking French, nobody was worrying about it.”

“Not only was it a completely bilingual group, but you could see them getting pleasure from the fact that there was this complexity in their community. Very positive.”

Mr. Carriere would like to expand the assistance program to more than 500 urban and rural communities across Canada over the next five years.


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