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Community Futures and Gabriola Chamber of Commerce Collaboration

Gabriola Island faces unique challenges for business growth and housing for staff due to limitations and bylaws enforced by the Islands Trust (IT). The Islands Trust is a unique federation of local governments serving islands in the Salish Sea which are responsible for preserving and protecting the islands' unique amenities and environment. A conversation between Green and Hatfield, after the 2016 disbandment of NEDC and Tourism Nanaimo, around how “we” should work together to address the challenges Gabriola faces for business growth and the resources CF brings to the table, moved to the formation of a group to navigate the changes to tourism and business development of Gabriola, Decourcy and Mudge Islands.

Community Futures Central Island (CFCI) worked closely with Gabriola Island Chamber of Commerce (GICC) which is a member organization within the CFCI region. CFCI Executive Director Jolynn Green and Gloria Hatfield, President of the GICC collaborated to create a strategic plan for economic development - the Strategy for Economic Prosperity on Gabriola (SEPG) - resulting in a three - year delivery agreement with the Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN).

The initial funding is going towards a branding exercise and setting up the governance structure. "As soon as the Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation collapsed, everything that they had about Gabriola vanished," said Howard Houle, Gabriola Island director. "So the people here have to start from square one. There are no photos, there's no website, there is nothing."

It was very satisfying to see the results of many conversations transformed into SEPG.  The creation of SEPG connected deeply with the CFCI mission to assist and encourage the enhancement of economic and community development of the Central Island residents/business owners.  CFCI encouraged GICC to apply for monies from the Island Coastal Economic Trust (ICET), taking part in the process that included collaborations with Gabriola Island businesses to share intellectual and in-kind resources among many organizations and stakeholders.

With SEPG ready to be implemented, ICET’s “Quick Start” stream of the Economic Development Readiness Program provided $5,000 to enable the GICC to move forward with the development of the organizational structure and human resources required to action the plan. “When stakeholders see plans quickly coming to life that energy leads to increased community engagement and partnerships, the first step in community-based revitalization.” said ICET Chair Phil Kent.

Further collaborations resulted in the BC Rural Dividend Program (BCRDP) providing $100,000 to the GICC who will use the monies to develop a homegrown strategy for economic prosperity on Gabriola Island. Newly hired Community Economic Development Officer (CEDO) Julie Sperber had been volunteering effectively for years as a mentor to entrepreneurs and will now be responsible for balancing economic development with positive social impact and sustainable practices. Untold  hours of hard work resulted in:

  • $6000  from RDN - start the process
  • $29,925 from RDN  for 2017 - kept the train moving
  • CFCI wrote the proposal for $5000 from ICET,  a $5,000 from RDN and then $65,000 from RDN based on SEPG for 2018 and 2019 - to develop an economic development strategic plan
  • CFCI wrote the proposal for $5,000 from ICET -  organizational structure and HR required to action the plan
  • CFCI wrote the proposal for $100,000 from  BCRDP - to develop a strategy for economic prosperity

According to Hatfield, “this is unprecedented support that we are receiving from the Province and  the RDN, and from organizations such as CFCI and ICET.” CFCI has been there through the entire process and continue to support stakeholders with bylaw, policy and procedure rewrites,  and governance training. Green acts as a mentor for the newly appointed CEDO on a fourth application for ICET. According to Cheryl McLay, (Ministry of Forests, Lands and Natural Resources, Regional Economic Operations Branch), our application for RDF funding presented the model proposal;  hence, other communities are approaching us to assist with economic development proposals.


Adam Hawryluk - 2018 Volunteer Of the Year

In April, Volunteer Canada and Community Futures celebrate Canada’s 12 million volunteers during National Volunteer Week. This year marks the 15th year Volunteer Canada has delivered the campaign in partnership with Investors Group, a longstanding supporter of National Volunteer Week.

We are so excited to announce the Community Futures Central Island's Volunteer of the Year for 2018 is Adam Hawryluk.   Community Futures relies on a number of volunteers such as Adam and truly recognize the dedication and business acumen he brings to the table.

“Adam’s background in finances and mortgages as well as his linkage to the Young Professionals of Nanaimo helps to keep us aware of new initiatives and thinking. He has been a positive influence and keen asset to the organization. Most importantly his leadership and problem solving skills are true assets,” states Ed Poli, Chair.

Hawryluk’s pursuit of learning and leadership has placed him among the top brokers not only in Nanaimo but island‑wide. He was nominated for Top 20 Under 40 for 2012‑2016 and is a past President of the Young Professionals of Nanaimo.  Currently he is on the Board of Directors for Community Futures Central Island and previously was a member of  our Marketing Committee and a past  Director of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce.

Community Futures is a non-profit, small business development organization – based in the community and for the community - that provides business loans to small and medium sized business in rural communities where access to credit is a challenge to start or grow a business. Our wide variety of business loans and tools are designed to help entrepreneurs and small business owners achieve their goals.


Professional office space for lease

Home office getting a bit cramped? 

Community Futures Central Vancouver Island has 1- 128 sq ft  professional office space for lease, on Prideaux St

Newly renovated, all inclusive, ground level, accessible entry and unfurnished at present.

WIFI, mailbox, parking spot, kitchen area, small boardroom for reservation and shared reception provided. 

Contact 250.591.7499 for full details.

Get Ready To Sell Your Products Online

MONDAY, MARCH 12, 2018 | FREE SEMINAR & WEBINAR presented by Export Navigator
In 2016, Canadians shopped online to the tune of $18.3 billion. By 2021, that figure is expected to reach almost $29 billion. As a small business owner, entering this growing market will enable you to sell your products or services online to a broader and more diverse audience. This seminar will help you learn the basics and begin prepare to sell online, both legally and profitably.

Thinking about harnessing the power of the internet to export your product or service beyond B.C.? Join us and learn how you can expand your markets through e-commerce.
This seminar will help you:

  • Learn what to look for in online service providers to get you ready to sell online.
  • Conduct a readiness check. Do you understand the tools, regulations and technologies of selling online?
  • Begin to navigate the legalities, licensing and taxes required to sell outside of B.C.

PRESENTED BY: Allison Boulton, Program Manager, Export Navigator
with insights offered by other international trade experts

DATE & TIME: Monday, March 12, 2018 | 9:30 AM to 11:00 AM

REGISTER NOW: Register for this FREE seminar & webinar now at
This seminar is hosted at Small Business BC in Vancouver and delivered to other locations via live webinar.
All webinar participants will receive access to a recording for seven days after the live session.
QUESTIONS: Contact Allison Boulton at

Please Show Your Support! Sign the Petition, Today.

We firmly believe that Community Futures organizations can do more to help the federal government achieve the objectives of Canada’s Innovation Agenda. However, in order for us to be more effective, the Community Futures Program needs to be strengthened. In March 2017, the Community Futures Network of Canada submitted a proposal for the renewal and modernization of the Community Futures Program to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Minister Navdeep Bains that contained recommendations we are confident will reinforce the Community Futures Program so that it can perform at its maximum capacity and achieve its full potential. The Community Futures Network of Canada is seeking community support to ensure that our recommendations are adopted by the federal government without further delay.

Please Show Your Support! Click the and Sign!!

18th Annual Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards Finalists

Congratulations sent to Community Futures Central Island clients who are finalists in the 18th Annual  Vancouver Island Business Excellence Awards

Foley Dog Treat Company  (Nanaimo) has dedicated itself to providing dogs and their owners with treats that are not only made from great holistic grain free ingredients; they are also "the only treat my dogs can have".

Nurture Collective (Parksville) is owned and operated by a group of dedicated women with a vested interest in the health and overall well-being of families." More than a retail outlet, we are striving to provide information and offer unparalleled support to parents from all walks of life. With a passion for community and an acute desire to unify families, we are hoping to create an inclusive and inviting environment. " 

Salt and Harrow (French Creek) is a 37-acre organic farm which grows over 50 varieties of vegetables, fruits, legumes and herbs and has a small flock of heritage breed hens for eggs. "Our mission is to provide local customers with a full vegetarian diet of artisan quality organic fruits and vegetables. We hope our food is a reflection of the place in which it is grown and the joy we take in growing it.  By caring for the soil we strive to produce nourishing food, made by land, healthy soil and hard working farmers."

Check out the Full list of Finalists here!

Nanaimo's VMAC wins Manufactured Products Category at the 2017 BC Export Awards

Great work VMAC! A progressive company that has incorporated LEAN manufacturing, was an early adopter of Economic Gardening and now Export Navigator via Community Futures.

Congratulations to VMAC Global Technology Inc. from Nanaimo! They won in the Manufactured Products Category for their compact and powerful mobile air compressors and multi-power systems. “VMAC (Vehicle Mounted Air Compressors) is one of the only true air compressor manufacturers in North America, engineering and manufacturing air compressors and multi-power systems in British Columbia”.

Criteria for the Manufactured Products Category includes growth in value of export sales, an ability to overcome challenges in entering new international markets, and a demonstrated use of innovative strategies to promote brand awareness in export markets. VMAC’s international sales now make up 65% of its business and the company’s reputation for quality and performance has captured the attention of global customers who require compact and powerful mobile air compressor solutions.

“VMAC’s focus on our people, culture, community and continuous improvement has helped us reinvest in VMAC to ensure sustainable growth,” says Gilbert. “Improving the quality of life for each coworker and their families, and contributing to the local economy has been part of VMAC’s driving purpose for the past 30 years, and will continue to be as the company grows and thrives in Nanaimo, BC.”

The Export Navigator Program extended

The Export Navigator Program has officially been extended for an additional six months!

We are continually working to improve this pilot program for our clients and are developing resources to help improve you and your community’s exporting knowledge. During Small Business Week, October 16-20, we will be hosting another edition of Introduction to the Export Process for FREE, courtesy of the Province of British Columbia. Participants will gain a better understanding of how to achieve exporting success beyond B.C. borders, both internationally and domestically. This webinar is targeted to service providers and economic development organizations who are curious about international trade and want to better understand exporting. Go to to register for these free webinars.


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Communities Served

Ladysmith, Nanaimo, Gabriola Island, Lantzville, Nanoose, Parksville, Qualicum Beach, Bowser, French Creek, Lasqueti Island


Community Futures Central Island
#14 - 327 Prideaux Street
Nanaimo, BC
V9R 2N4

T: 250.591.7499
T: 888.303.2232
T: 877.585.5385
F: 250.591.7498