There is money still available to help Kivalliq businesses that have been hurt financially by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The National Aboriginal Capital Corporations Association (NACCA) began seeking a Covid-19 response tailored to the needs of Indigenous entrepreneurs when the crisis first hit this past March.
Last April, the federal government confirmed that it would provide $307 million in relief, including $204 million for an emergency loan program to be delivered by NACCA and Aboriginal financial institutions.
General manager Mark Macneill of the Kivalliq Business Development Centre said the centre, through the Nunavut Community Futures Associations, is administering two of these Covid funds that assist businesses — the regional relief and recovery fund and the Indigenous small business emergency loan program for the region.
He said the business development centre has assisted six businesses to date and currently has multiple businesses in the application process.
“We strongly encourage businesses and entrepreneurs impacted by Covid to consider applying for these funds,” said Macneill.
“The regional relief and recovery fund will lend up to $100,000 interest free, and 75 per cent repayable provided the repayment schedule is honoured.
“The emergency loan program has just recently been increased from $40,000 to $60,000 assistance per applicant with 75 per cent repayable, as well.
“The maximum cumulatively available is $100,000 between the regional relief and recovery fund, the Indigenous small business emergency loan program and the Canadian Emergency Business Account (CEBA).”
Macneill said Kivalliq businesses can apply for the CEBA through their banks.
He said money can be accessed through all the different programs, but only to the set cap of $100,000.
“CEBA can do up to $60,000 but, it is my understanding that if you already received $40,000 in emergency loan program from the business development centre, then you can only do an additional $20,000 via CEBA, of which only 50 per cent is repayable and is interest free provided you meet the terms of repayment.
“Otherwise it is five per cent interest.”
Macneill said the Kivalliq Business Development Centre is still in recovery mode, having not been in operation for a few years when he took it over February 2019.
“We don’t have an extended ongoing portfolio of loans and clients at the moment.
“Some of our existing clients continue to apply to one of these programs through us, but I know the Kitikmeot and Baffin regions have done a considerable amount of business through them.
“We want to get the word out there to Kivalliq businesses that there is a considerable amount of money available to them.
“For people who are in need — if they are not already aware — we want them to know that there is money available and we’re here for them.”
Macneill said there is still no deadline in place for accessing these funds because the end of Covid is still not known.
He said there is, however, at the moment a set amount of money available and when that money is depleted that would be the end of the funds available.
“We don’t know if there’s going to be another round or not once all the designated funds have been dispersed to people.
“But, as we speak right now, there is still money available through these assist programs, and any Kivalliq business that is in need of financial help due to the impact the Covid pandemic had on them should strongly consider applying to them.”