June 28 marked the grand opening of the Centre Wellington Small Business Centre on Provost Lane in Fergus.
In April, economic development officer Patricia Rutter told councillors 91 per cent of businesses in Centre Wellington have fewer than 20 employees.
“Given that, we’ve been working with the business centre for the past 18 months to expand support in Centre Wellington,” she said.
She noted that in 2017 council approved funding for a year-long pilot project to deliver support services to start-up businesses in Centre Wellington through one-on-one consultations and delivery of training seminars.
At the centre’s official launch on June 28, Rutter called it “a natural progression” to open this office.
“I look forward to all of the great businesses which will grow out of this initiative,” she said.
Mayor Kelly Linton said it is “awesome” to see the local support of the community and the number of councillors able to attend the day’s event.
“(The centre) is so critical for us and to make Centre Wellington a great place for entrepreneurs,” said Linton.
He added, “I’ve heard awesome reports about the services offered already to people who have gone through the process.”
He said the centre helps small business start up from the ground floor.
“It’s going to be a service that is used a lot.
“It’s awesome that it’s located here in downtown Fergus, just a little off the beaten path. But once people know it is here, it is going to be well used.”
The Provost Lane building is adjacent to a municipal parking lot.
Guelph-Wellington Business Centre executive director Kristel Manes said “we’ve always had an important relationship with the county and Centre Wellington.”
She noted business advisor Corina Sipkes will be travelling and meeting with local business owners.
Manes explained the centre’s services are appointment based. She added, “call, make an appointment, and we will come out and see you.” She thanked Rutter, whose efforts made the local centre possible.
Manes said “we look forward to building this partnership … looking to bigger and better things next year.”
Next year marks the 20th anniversary of the Guelph-Wellington Business Centre.