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Small businesses take big hit from the province

Province cuts funding to White Horse Plains Community Futures Inc.

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New businesses could have a tougher time becoming established in several local communities due to recent provincial budget cuts, says the head of a non-profit economic development agency.


As part of its 2012 budget announced this spring, the province canceled funding for all regional economic development corporations including Central Plains Inc.


CPI executive director Ken Keith said the cut to economic development funding could have serious implications for new businesses in communities such as Headingley, Cartier and St. Francois Xavier.


"We are one of three regional development corporations that are still relatively active," he said.


"They not only cut funding, but they did it without telling the development corporations about their plan. It effects regional economic development in Manitoba in very significant ways."


Keith said the CPI does some contract work on a fee basis and that will sustain the corporation for the time being.


He said there continues to be a demand for the CPI services in the area and staff are working hard to ensure the organization is there to help new entrepreneurs.


"We are still operating without funding from the province, and continue to try to provided services to the municipalities that are our members, but we have had to scale down our operations," he said.


Keith added the recent change means municipalities have to bear an even greater share of economic development than they did before.


"For many years rural businesses relied on programs like ours and I ask the province what is there to replace them?" he said.

prescott.james@canstarnews.com

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