Community Futures Central Island, (CFCI), is looking to offer Ladysmith’s small business owners an alternative to banks and credit unions.
“Over the years we’ve had a number of different clients from the Ladysmith area. As of late, there hasn’t been as many as we would like,” Leslie Sutton, marketing manager for CFCI said.
CFCI has been around for 35 years, and is a developmental lender that offer personalized loans for small businesses. They are funded by the federal government, and have flexibility to meet small business owners where they’re at.
Aside from their loan services, CFCI offers business counselling and advisory services to help small businesses grow their business. They also have an entrepreneur in residence program where an entrepreneur coaches small business owners. Clients do not need to have loans with CFCI to use their advisory services.
“We also have the ability to work in collaboration with banks and credit unions,” Sutton said.
“It could be a brick and mortar situation where a credit union or bank looks at actually financing the purchase of a building, or renovations etc. But then people need more money because they need to maybe do some lease hold improvements, buy some stock, or they need to do a marketing campaign, or build a website, and they’re not able to do that.”
Sutton said that CFCI can leverage businesses up to 90 or 100 percent, which gives small businesses a greater access to funds. CFCI has the ability to finance sole proprietors with business loans rather than through their personal finances. Sutton said CFCI is flexible on loan repayment schedules and can tailor schedules to individual businesses.
CFCI has done larger loans. They have the ability to amortize loans up to 25 years to reduce payments. After five years, clients can renegotiate the amortization, provided they have the cash flow to cover the loan payments. In the event that a client cannot afford their loan payment, CFCI will help their clients through the process and form a repayment plan that protects the client’s credit.
“We always say to our clients if you’re having problems or you’re struggling we don’t want to be the last to know, we want to be the first to know. Some times we can help clients out — maybe there’s a way we can reduce payments or stop payments for a period of time to help them… We want to build the relationship and be able to help clients succeed,” Sutton said.
Many small business owners find it difficult to leave work during regular business hours. With this in mind, CFCI offers some of their services directly at their clients’ businesses.
“If somebody’s in their business and they need to have a conversation nothing stops us from coming in and visiting at a time that’s convenient for them,” Sutton said.
CFCI is actively looking for clients in Ladysmith. For more information on CFCI services and programs visit: cfnanaimo.org.