Small Business Week is an annual celebration of entrepreneurship, with thousands of entrepreneurs gathering to acknowledge Canadian businesses, learn, and network. A number of events are being offered in the Nicola Valley for this year’s iteration of small business week, and many of them have been organized by Community Futures Nicola Valley (CFNV).
The Herald sat down with Joe Nemeth, loans officer for CFNV, ahead of Small Business Week to discuss their plans, networking, and the function of the non-profit organization.
Q: What does Community Futures do?
“We’re lucky to be in a time and a place where, if you have an idea that’s going to make your corner of the world better, you’re free to chase it. Further to that, there’s places like Community Futures, where we’re going to cheer you on and coach you where we can. My position is Loans Officer, but about 50 percent of the time here, I’m going over business plans, we’re talking about viability and scalability, and where your idea fits in the real world. There’s really no point in bringing someone in and only talking about funding when there’s so much more to educate them on. We want to give people the best chance of success. If you have an idea and you want to grow it into something real, start here with us. We will usually either connect you to, or have, the resources you need.”
Q: How does Community Futures support existing businesses in the community?
“Small Business Week is such a celebration of the entrepreneurial world. I think it’s really important to understand that when you make the leap to become self-employed, there’s always a jump. You’re going from working for a person and receiving a paycheck, to being on your own means. For existing entrepreneurs that are on the other side of that, this whole week is a celebration that you’re there and you’re one of the brave. Year round, we recognize that those people are making their own way, and sometimes they’re going to need questions answered and support provided, and that’s what we’re here for.”
Q: What is Community Futures doing for Small Business Week 2022?
“The big goal is to try to bring a lot of education out that is accessible to people. We’re offering our courses online, and then our in person offering is the hot dog sale. We’re doing a business after business event on Thursday, where we’ll have the City’s Economic Development Manager, Marilyn Christensen, come and speak.”
Q: What is your favourite aspect of your job as Loans Officer?
“The whole idea of Community Futures is that individual communities need to be served by individuals in their communities. It’s such a creative community, it really is. I don’t think any week is like the last, and I don’t think any case is like the last. I’m lucky that the way the Community Futures program is structured, I get to spend the time to learn the ins and outs of each individual case, and sort of be investigative and curious like the people who come in the door are. The amount of new solutions to existing problems, new approaches, and new ideas that come in, I’m always floored. To have that be your job, it’s amazing.”
CFNV is hosting a number of online webinars on small business topics such as taxes, productivity, business planning, and networking. They will also hold a Business After Business networking event on October 20, from 5:00PM to 7:30PM at the CFNV office. For more information, or to register, visit www.cfdcnv.com.
Community Futures Nicola Valley is located at 2181 Quilchena Avenue, and can be reached at 250-378-3923. Their website can be found at www.cfdcnv.com, where a plethora of information and resources are available to small businesses.