Written by Kate Young
Community Futures Peterborough has been guiding small businesses through the highs and lows of business ownership – from start-up, to expansion, buying, selling and succession planning – for decades. Throughout those years, the desks have been occupied by a number of capable and community-minded staff members who have offered advice and guidance to clients who have sought direction along the journey of entrepreneurship and community development. As Community Futures Peterborough begins its next era of leadership under the newly appointed Executive Director, Jeff Day, the front line team continues to work hard to serve clients and the community.
Community Futures Peterborough is different from dealing with a Chartered bank since the loan decisions are made by volunteer board members who are local business owners who understand the challenges associated with starting, purchasing and expanding a business. Though having a solid business plan is of utmost importance, the team at Community futures understands that someone’s character and drive to succeed is also an important factor.
As Community Futures Peterborough’s longest-standing employee, Pat has helped countless local businesses find success. Pat began working with the organization in 2001 and has held a number of positions since that time. Today, she is responsible for administering the Eastern Ontario Development Program (EODP), as well as bookkeeping and administration for the Community Futures building.
The EODP program has been supporting local companies and organizations as they expand their operations, for over 10 years. Managed by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario, it is delivered in partnership with the 15 Community Futures Development Corporations in eastern Ontario. The program supports rural eastern Ontario communities to pursue the creation of a competitive and diversified regional economy through investment in economic development, small business growth, job creation and community innovation. Pat is the front-line staff member for this program and offers advice to applicants as they navigate the submission process.
In her role, Pat sees some of the most innovative and creative ideas from our local businesses and community organizations. Being able to provide these businesses with support and financial assistance in the form of re-payable financing, non-repayable contributions and community economic development activities, makes her job enjoyable and rewarding.
When asked what advice Pat would give to someone looking to start or expand a business, she said:
“The road to success in any venture, besides a sustainable business plan, is professional support and mentorship. Listening and putting professional advice into action will improve your chances of success.”