Three organizations in the Yukon are getting almost $1 million in CanNor funding for a series of small business development projects in the territory.
On Wednesday, Yukon MP Ryan Leef announced a total of more than $940,000 that will go to support a number of existing projects being delivered by the Whitehorse and Yukon chambers of commerce, as well as new initiatives like a home-stay pilot project developed by L’Association franco-yukonnaise.
“We all have a common goal to strengthen Yukon’s business sector by encouraging networking and training opportunities and building the capacity of our local entrepreneurs,” said Leef.
L’Association franco-yukonnaise will get $108,300 over two years. The money is the first time the organization will have the means to directly support bilingual tourism initiatives in the Yukon, said Angelique Bernard, the association’s president.
The francophone association’s home-stay program aims to offer cheap accommodation with Yukon families for small groups of tour clients and travel wholesalers visiting the Yukon.
“This is something more and more visitors are asking for,” Bernard said.
“The home-stay program came out of a feasibility program that was done two years ago. The people who took part in the study said that this could be an interesting way of attracting more tourists. This year we are concentrating on establishing this home stay program,” she said.
L’AFY will also get funding to help increase the amount of bilingual tourism marketing in the Yukon, and make it easier for tourism businesses to offer services in both official languages.
“We’re also working on another project at L’AFY to go and meet with these businesses and make up a plan about how we can help them offer more services in French,” Bernard said.
The Yukon Chamber of Commerce is getting $98,615 to redevelop its website and business directory, and to continue its monthly lunch lecture series.
The lecture series allows small businesses from across the territory to come together and network, share ideas and develop business opportunities.
“The bulk of business in the territory is small business, and that can be from a one-person business to up to 200 people,” said Darielle Talarico, the chair of the Yukon chamber.
“In the Yukon, the majority are very small operations. The beauty of that, and it’s great because I’m a one-person business myself, it’s great to have a place where we can come together and catch up on what’s going on in the territory,” Talarico said.
The Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce will get $747,000 in CanNor dollars to support its ongoing Partnering for Success program, as well as a new Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Activities program.
There was no money allocated specifically for any aboriginal business development, but Rick Karp said much of the work the Whitehorse chamber does helps support aboriginal entrepreneurs.
“The SME training and support fund is also a new fund. Part of that program is to advance women in the workplace – aboriginal women in the Yukon and women interested in entrepreneurship,” Karp said.
“Right now we’re doing research, gathering background and information about what kind of support women need as they move into entrepreneurship or develop themselves in the workplace,” Karp said.
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