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Supporting rural entrepreneurial opportunities across Atlantic Canada

by ahnationtalk on September 15, 202331 Views

From: Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Community Business Development Corporations are at the heart of growing rural Atlantic Canadian economies

September 15, 2023

Small and medium-sized businesses in rural communities play a vital role in Canada’s economy. The Government of Canada is helping entrepreneurs in rural regions grow their skills and their business, so everyone can succeed.

Today, the Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA) announced an investment of $12.6 million in core funding to the network of 41 Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs) in Atlantic Canada, along with an additional $1.5 million that will better support under-recognized groups. This additional investment will give entrepreneurs better access to business capital, and improving rural economic vitality and sustainability.

Through the Community Futures Program, these two investments will help CBDCs provide crucial financial support, skills training, expert knowledge, counselling services and tailored on-the-ground programs to the rural businesses, organizations and communities they serve. This helps build vibrant local economies and creates jobs.


“Atlantic Canada’s CBDC’s keep the wind in our region’s sails. Your federal government is focused on empowering rural entrepreneurs to launch and grow the small and medium-sized businesses that create jobs and make our communities strong.”

– The Honourable Gudie Hutchings, Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

“I would like to express our heartfelt gratitude to ACOA for their unwavering support and continual investment in the CBDCs throughout the Atlantic region. This funding will undoubtedly allow our organization to continue our efforts in fostering economic growth and innovation in our region.”
– Neville Robinson, President, Atlantic Association of Community Business Development Corporations (AACBDC)

Quick facts

  • For the past 37 years, the Government of Canada’s Community Futures Program has been supporting economic development in primarily rural areas across Canada through a network of 256 Community Futures Organizations (CFO’s). In Atlantic Canada, the CFOs are called Community Business Development Corporations, or CBDCs.
  • Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs) are non-profit organizations that deliver a wide variety of programs and services to support community economic development and small business growth in Atlantic Canada. They employ local staff and are each governed by a volunteer board of directors, made up of local residents representing the community.
  • Since 1995, the Government of Canada, through the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency, has invested over $265 million into Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs) via the Community Futures Program. This has contributed to the creation of over 28,450 jobs, maintenance of over 57,000 jobs, and assistance to 39,606 entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada.
  • Between 1995 and March 2023, Community Business Development Corporations (CBDCs) disbursed 39,776 loans for a value of nearly $1.6 billion.
  • Over the years, CBDCs in Atlantic Canada have supported tens of thousands of different businesses, from Exploits Extreme Ziplines in Grand-Falls Windsor, NL, to Whispering Hope Farm near Tyne Valley, PE, the Front Porch Café in Mulgrave, NS, and MXP Electric Inc. in Edmunston, NB. These are a just a few examples in a long list of rural businesses across the region that are achieving their potential and contributing to growing local economies thanks to their local CBDC.
  • To find your local CBDC, or for more information on the services and support they offer, visit the CBDCs website.

Associated links


Kevin Lemkay
Director of Communications
Office of the Minister of Rural Economic Development and Minister responsible for ACOA

Media Relations
Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency

Helen Michel
Program Assistant
Marketing and Communications
Atlantic Association of CBDCs


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