Small Business Centre authorized by council

Centre Wellington councillors are ready to establish a small business centre.

Township economic development officer Patricia Rutter made a brief presentation to the committee of the whole on April 23.

Rutter said 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.

Rutter said it is proposed that the Business Centre Guelph Wellington open a Small Business Centre in the former tourist information office in Fergus at 160 Provost Lane.

The space would be staffed from 10am to 4pm from Monday to Friday beginning on May 2. The township would provide the space, telephone, internet and signage, while the business centre would provide staffing and insurance.

Rutter said a number of factors led to the determination to establish a more permanent Small Business Centre in Centre Wellington.

The township’s corporate strategic plan requested support for entrepreneurship and support services for small business.

She added this service helps provide that, with access to programs like Summer Company for young entrepreneurs and Starter Company for start-up training.

The Business Centre Guelph Wellington would like to expand its services to the businesses in the County of Wellington and Centre Wellington is central to many residents in the county.

This centre will provide support to help grow those businesses, officials say.

“The property is ideally suited for their needs with a small office space for consultations and the opportunity to provide materials in the lobby area while being centrally located,” said Rutter.

She added this is not a commitment to additional funding from the township, unless expressly approved by council. She added funds were approved in the 2018 budget to continue the relationship with the Business Centre Guelph Wellington in the amount of $10,500.

An additional $1,500 for telephone, internet and signage will be provided out of the current economic development budget.

Council endorsed the motion authorizing the mayor and clerk to sign an agreement to establish of a Small Business Centre at 160 Provost Lane in Fergus.