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COVID-19 Business Support
Counties Economic Development staff is continuing to support and promote businesses in the region. If any business needs information or assistance with the various financial programs and resources available, please call the Economic Development Office 613-342-3840 ext. 5365

A refresh of the business support COVID-19 webpage www.investleedsgrenville.com/covid19 was completed last week. Sections include financial support programs, news related to federal and provincial announcements, resources and reports at the provincial and national level, as well as local resources and reports; including the business support working group. 

A new Health and Safety section to the webpage provides links to the Ontario business guidelines for reopening. “We are developing a list of local suppliers and distributors for PPE and equipment needed to meet the Ontario guidelines for businesses reopening,” says Ann Weir, Economic Development Manager for Leeds Grenville. “Our short-term focus will be supporting businesses with the right safety information and supplier resources so when the provincial government gives them the green light, they are ready to go.”

Details on several of the financial support programs are still to be finalized. Subscribe to the COVID-19 business webpage to ensure you receive email notifications on updates. 
April eNews Editions - COVID-19 Business Support
If you missed our April eNews editions - You can see them here!

Due to a technical glitch, some of our valued subscribers did not receive the last two editions of eNews. We apologize for the inconvenience and have corrected the issue. Please check them out as they contain important Business Support information, funding opportunities and what some local companies have been doing to help during the pandemic. Here are the direct links to the editions you may have missed:

You can always find previous editions of eNews on our eNews Archive Page. Thank you for your continued support.
Economic Development eNews | May 5, 2020
Local Businesses and COVID-19
Top feature photo: Spencerville`s Little Sisterz owner Gina Vacchio is reinventing her business to expand on frozen entr é es and deliverable 'care packages' containing produce, food and wine.
Above top photo: Little Sisterz sample specials of the week, above, the production line for care packages.
Above photos: Cindi and Yvon Desgagne in their dining room; Homestead's famous ready-to-bake lasagna being prepared for packaging.
Area restaurant owners reinvent their service delivery
Many of our area restaurant owners are keeping their doors open by offering their customers pickup and delivery services of their fan favourites.

Two of these businesses forging ahead to keep their eateries alive and their customers satisfied are Little Sisterz in downtown Spencerville, and Homestead Deli and Bakery , located on the outskirts of Brockville on County Road 2 in Elizabethtown-Kitley Township.

"We've had to pivot and reinvent ourselves," says Little Sisterz owner Gina Vacchio, whose restaurant is now delivering 'care packages' filled with in-house homestyle Italian specialties, fresh produce like peppers and tomatoes, soups, sauces, wine and Flying Canoe Hard Cider.

"It's so perfect in this terrible storm that is COVID-19 - it is the love and support of our customers that keeps us going," says Gina.

Her food packages are delivered to communities along Highway 416 northward as far as Stittsville on Fridays and south to Prescott and Brockville every Saturday. Pre-orders can be taken up to Tuesday at 3 p.m. each week by calling 613-648-8888 or visiting the Facebook page .

"We're following the needs of our customers," says Gina, adding she is also keeping an eye on special needs during this time. "I saw it was getting harder to get items like flour and yeast so I offered that and people came flying through the door."

Little Sisterz has a large selection of frozen entré es, food items, new weekly specials and pizza. They continue with their regular breakfast, lunch and dinner menu service for pickup. There will be Mother's day specials. Another initiative is a partnership with Conor Cleary, of Cleary Feed and Seed, to offer frozen local meats from Spencerville-area producers at her restaurant.

"We're here for our customers and we hope new people try us too," says Gina.

Cindi and Yvon Desgagne, of Homestead Deli & Bakery, are also staying the course with frozen meals and soup sales way up during the pandemic. Famous for their breakfasts, Cindi says they continue to provide these for pickup, as well as their lunch specials.

"Folks are still coming for takeout. We're still open and I plan on staying open," says Cindi. "We keep making what people want. Customers will come and get a bunch of things at a time because it reduces their time of having to go to the grocery store."

They've been in business 10 years but say things really took off last May when they started serving breakfast. There would be lineups on weekends and the word spread quickly.

"And then this happened," says Cindi while standing in her empty dining room. "But because our business doubled this past year after introducing breakfast, more people know about us. It has definitely made a big difference to our survival now."

Making lunches for Kriska Transportation truckers helped a great deal in the early weeks of COVID-19, she says. "It helped us through when no one knew what tomorrow would bring."

Homestead is known for its homestyle menu. Its signature items are toasted subs with turkey and beef roasted on site. They offer desserts, soups, frozen entr é es such as Shepherd's pie, beef stroganoff, turkey dinner platters and ready-to-bake lasagna.

"I make the best food I can possibly make and we know what keeps people coming back," says Cindi. Visit their Facebook page or call them at 613-865-7526.
What's Open in Leeds Grenville
Many businesses are continuing to provide services and have modified their businesses to accommodate the current government regulations. Check out what's open in your community.

If you are a business that is operating and wish to be listed, please email us.
Funding Opportunities
Agri-Food Open for E-Business Initiative - Targeted Intake

This initiative to help food producers, farmers' markets, retailers, garden centres, greenhouses, nurseries and agricultural associations develop online business, providing consumers with greater access to a wide variety of food and agricultural products.

This targeted application intake features two funding streams:

  • Stream 1: Bring Your Business Online: Eligible organizations and businesses can apply for a grant of up to $5,000 to establish an online e-business and marketing presence. Funding under this stream will be quick and responsive for those needing immediate solutions.

  • Stream 2: Develop Online Business Opportunities: Eligible organizations, businesses and collaborations can apply for cost-share funding of up to $75,000 to implement high-impact projects.

Learn more on the OMAFRA webpage .
Addressing Agri-Food Labour Supply and Training Challenges - Funding

The governments of Canada and Ontario are investing up to $1-million in new funding to connect workers with in-demand jobs in the agri-food sector to keep the nation's supply chains strong and store shelves stocked during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the Canadian Agricultural Partnership, this program will help primary agriculture, food processing companies and grocery retail to implement new enhanced or expanded activities for attracting, training and retaining labour important to keeping the essential food supply chain functioning.

Learn more on the OMAFRA webpage .
Tourism support during COVID-19
Tourism Industry Association of Ontario offering complimentary membership

TIAO recognizes it is hard for members in the tourism industry right now. The challenges of COVID-19, and what comes after, means there has never been a more important time to engage with tourism operators and ensure your voice is heard at Queen's Park. TIAO is doing that with weekly industry conference calls, our Evidence Generating Strategy (EGS) that is providing real-time data from the front-line to government, and its media work highlighting the importance of the tourism industry to our economy. It also wants to do one more thing - help your bottom line.

Thanks to the support of the Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries and Minister Lisa MacLeod, TIAO is able to offer complimentary membership in 2020 to new members. If you are an existing member, they will extend your membership for another year.

For those new and existing members that can afford to pay their membership, you can join TIAO's 'Green shoots sponsor' scheme and help them to continue the research and vital actions to rebuild and represent the industry's voice to the Ontario government.

To apply for your free membership, email TIAO and their team will be happy to assist you.
Uncover Website Secrets with Google Analytics

Your website tells a powerful story about your business. Google Analytics is the key to unlocking that story but you need to ask the right questions. This beginner level seminar shows you where your real website story lies in Google Analytics. By the end of this webinar you will know: Which reports will help you most; How to evaluate where your visitors are coming from and; How to evaluate your website's contribution to your business goals.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 6, 10-11:30 a.m.
COST: Free

Social Enterprise 101

What exactly is a social enterprise? How do you start one? And where can you go for help? In this webinar, you will learn more about social enterprise models and characteristics, local examples, support resources, and considerations for starting. Join this session to learn about this unique type of business that uses revenue-generating activities to achieve a social, environmental or cultural good.

WHEN: Thursday, May 7,12-1 p.m.
COST: Free

Compassionate Branding in a Time of Crisis

Everything from your products and services, all the way to your marketing, tells your brand story, But what story do you tell in a time of crisis? In this webinar, strategies will be discussed to help your brand stay relevant, and useful, during the COVID-19 crisis. This isn't the time to sit on the sidelines. This is an opportunity to make a real impact in the lives of your customers. You'll see real-world examples of brands navigating these challenges and gain a strategic framework to help you create your own plan fast.

WHEN: Friday, May 8, 10-11 a.m.
COST: Free

E-Commerce Options for Small Business

This is an Ontario Digital Main Street Initiative online webinar to discover the fundamentals of selling online that's perfect for beginners. You'll learn how to add e-commerce functionality to an existing website; How to sell through a third-party marketplace; How to build your whole website as an online store; What your options are for payment gateways and fees; How to integrate your online store to other digital systems like accounting and shipping.

WHEN: Wednesday, May 13, 7-8:30 p.m.
COST: Free

Learn more about upcoming webinars or cancellations on our Workshops and Seminars page.
Leeds Grenville eNews Deadlines for submitting information:
If you have an upcoming workshop, seminar, or business-related event, please email it to us in advance.
  • Submissions for the May 19th edition should be received by Monday, May 11th.
  • Submissions for the June 2nd edition should be received by by Monday, May 25th.
United Counties of Leeds and Grenville Economic Development Office
32 Wall Street, Suite 300, Brockville, ON K6V 4R9
613-342-3840 | 1-800-770-2170 |  econdev@uclg.on.ca