South Lake Futures has provided the federal government’s Community Futures Program to the communities of East Gwillimbury, Georgina and Brock since January 2004. However, our organization’s history pre-dates that.
In 1985 the Georgina Association for Business (GAB) was formed as a local not-for-profit organization delivering a federal government, rural business development and job creation program known as LEAD. This program had two streams, business development corporations (BDC’s) to provide business counselling and lending and community futures corporations (CFs) to implement community economic development planning and projects.
GAB was established as one of fifty BDCs in Ontario, eventually expanding to also provide services in East Gwillimbury and Brock. When the BDC portion of the program ended, GAB was one of only seven BDCs to successfully fulfill the original goal and become a self-sufficient, free standing Business Development Corporation. The BDCs that were unable to achieve this goal were merged with the local Community Futures organizations, and Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs) were created. Merging the business and economic development roles into one entity has proven to be a powerful combination. Community Futures has consistently been one of the Government of Canada’s highest rated programs and this has led to considerable growth of the program in the subsequent years with greater resources being made available to CFDCs to invest in their communities.
GAB operated quite successfully as a free standing BDC for eight years. During that time, GAB relocated from Sutton and purchased an office in Keswick. As a self-sufficient not-for-profit organization, GAB met all its operating financial obligations and increased its total funds under management by approximately $1,000,000. Demand for capital however continued to increase, and five years after leaving the Community Futures Program (CFP) the need for more lending funds led the Board of GAB to apply to re-enter the CF program.
This objective was accomplished in 2004 when South Lake Futures became a Community Futures Development Corporation and it has proven to be a good decision for the communities we serve, substantially increasing our lending funds and adding significant community economic development resources.