Interview with Lesley Thompson of ACCFutures

More information on ACCFutures

By Tana Allers

  1. What is ACCFutures ?

The ACCFutures formerly known as Community Futures Development Corporation of Cornwall & the Counties helps to support the needs of the local and rural community. For 34 years we have been an independent, non-profits organization that is just one of 267 in Canada. We provide financing that is complementary to bank finance and we are willing to take on a higher level of risk than banks will. We can provide loans and equity. There are repayment terms for the loans, but we can also do financing based on preferred shares, which means that we take an equity stake in the company. We are also a trusted delivery agent for federal and provincial grants.

What help can ACCFutures offer a new entrepreneur in terms of funding?

We can offer funding from $2500 up to 400,000 we offer flex strategies as well as open retail. For example, if you have a seasonal business, we might be able to work out a repayment plan that is seasonally based. We can also work with you on postponing or even forgiving repayment.

Are there any requirements to access the ACCFutures, who is eligible?

You just need to be living in the SDG, Akwesasne, or Cornwall area, however, for the Cross Border program, you must simply live in Ontario. That’s it.

What are some of the things small business owners might want to consider before approaching the ACCFutures?

We can offer help at any stage; it is never too early to talk to us. From the idea stage, all the way up to a fully built business with many years under its belt. We can help you with the business plan, finding funding, and so much more.

How does a new business owner go about applying for grants and loans?

Usually, we would set up a meeting or call with an account manager. They would then get an understanding of the business and the possible security to be pledged. There is a pre-qualification process too. We work on a case-by-case basis. You would need to bring with you a budget, forecasted working capital, photo ID however other documents might be required depending on the type of business you run.

How long does the application process take typically?

Usually, it's the time it takes for the client to gather the necessary information. If you are buying a property, we would need the closing dates for the sale for example. It could be as little as three days or as many as three months, it depends on the complexity of the case.

What documents would someone need to apply for grants and loans?

You need to bring your application form, photo ID, articles of incorporation, forecasts, your budget, a business plan, financial statements, and any other supporting information.

What are the most common applications?

Usually, building purchases are the most common application, working capital can also help with equipment expenses. And you need contractors or if there is a change of ownership anything that a business needs money for.

What are some things people might not know about what ACCFutures can do?

Really anything that our community sees as a priority, will help with those needs. We can help with best practices or write grants; we help with indigenous awareness and workforce recruitment too. Our Cross Border Program is becoming a regular fixture rather than just a program and we are excited about that.

Do you have any other expert advice for a new entrepreneur coming to you for the first time?

You are as strong as your network. Those who reach out are more successful and last, versus those that do not. Leverage existing resources in your community as much as you can. Focus on sales and financial management, many do not do that. We can help you do that with tools. Make the money and manage the money, make sure you do both.

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