For more than 35 years Community Futures has successfully helped local entrepreneurs by providing advisory services and financing. Whether you want to start a business or expand your current operation, we have a loan for that! Do you need money to apply new technology to enhance productivity, upgrade your facilities and/or equipment, or an interest in purchasing a business, we are your local experts.
Specializing in loans that meet the needs of small and medium sized enterprises, we offer customized re-payment schedules that work for you and your business. Our goal is to fill your financial gap and maximize your assets or funds so that your entrepreneurial dreams become reality. As developmental lenders, we work collaboratively with banks and credit unions as well as other Community Futures offices in our network to create a financing plan that works for you.
As of Nov 2019 Community Futures Central Island has lent $42,192,677 to 2741 local small businesses in our region leveraging $65,267,000 in our communities and creating/maintaining 5530 jobs.
We are completely focused on the needs of our clients, local businesses, and region’s economy. Located in Nanaimo, we assist entrepreneurs throughout central Vancouver Island from Ladysmith to Bowser, Whiskey Creek to Gabriola and Lasqueti Island and points in between. Community Futures is the only non-profit organization throughout rural BC with a mandate for small business and community economic development.
My favourite quote is actually a song lyric: “I get by with a little help from my friends.” (The Beatles, 1967). I do believe that the relationships we build over the years are priceless. They support us, they engage us in healthy debate and they make us accountable.
Working in business development has always been my passion. My career started with being a chamber manager where I was introduced to Community Futures in the early 1990’s. My involvement led to my employment and the rest is history. My work assisting both communities and entrepreneurs has been very rewarding. It has allowed to take my own business experience as well as education and work experience and assist others. My journey in self employment taught me to be aware of my intentions as a business owner. It was not my business to run as I pleased. I was there to serve my customers … taking care of business was taking care of them, they were my livelihood!
What I bring to Community Futures is the ability to understand and provide change management advice. I appreciate systems thinking: working through a problem to find the best solution. I enjoy facilitating strategic planning and focus group sessions. I also have a knack for connecting people; I’m a matchmaker.
One of my life’s goals is to retire financially secure so that I can experience culinary travel. I love great wine, good food and traveling, so it is the best way to experience all three together.
It is hard to pick just one favourite book, but if I had to it would be “The Book of Negroes” (Hill) which I read while on a vacation. I could not put it down. It was a riveting historical fiction account of the life of a young African girl, through the American Revolution, to her senior years. Another favourite book is “Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most” (Stone, Patton, Heen). This book provided me with the skills to look for the underlying structure of every difficult conversation and find the tools to approach those conversations with less stress and more success.
Business Development & Credit Officer
I bring comprehensive experience in public service and non-profit environments to Community Futures, along with superior knowledge of human resources, partnership development, staff leadership and financial management.
Assisting with the planning and delivery of events which were part of the 2014 International Festival of Business, a global showcase and 50-day festival in Liverpool attracting 68,600 business attendees from 92 countries at 415 events was my most challenging and interesting occupation to date.
After all these years of being in the business and non-profit sector, I have learned to always be open to learning. I believe it is important to be willing to receive advice, know that you have room for improvement, but also be selective in the advice upon which you act. If I were asked to offer one piece of advice for business people it would to “Be bold!’ Don’t be afraid to try and fail – many times you will succeed!
As Alice in Alice in Wonderland notes, “It’s no use going back to yesterday, because I was a different person then.” We are defined by our choices, experiences and our perspectives. So, every day, we wake up a new person, with new thoughts and ideas.
Elizabeth Gilbert of “Eat, Pray, Love” said it best during her Ted Talk titled Your Elusive Creative Genius. “Follow your curiosity because passion is sort of a tower of flame that is not always accessible. Your curiosity may lead you to your passion or it may not. It may have been for “nothing”, in which case all you’ve done your entire life is spend your existence in pursuit of the things that made you feel curious and inspired and that should be good enough.”
During my time as the Director of Operations and then Acting Executive Director of the Central Vancouver Island Multicultural Society, we were the proud recipients of three industry awards: 2016 Aspect Organization of the Year, The 2017 BC Career Development Association, Career Development Organization of the year award and the Non-Profit Organization of the Year 2017 from the Nanaimo Chamber Business Achievement Awards.
Office & Loans Administrator
I bring a background in Financial Services and Marketing along with superior customer service, organization and problem solving skills to my role at Community Futures. My volunteer role on their Marketing Committee helped me to truly understand what Community Futures is about and its impact on the local small business community.
When I started a position as an Advertising Sales Representative at a local newspaper, I really thought I was connected in the Central Vancouver Island community. I had worked, volunteered and raised my family in the area but I had barely scratched the surface. In fact, I was only connected with the businesses and individuals that were within my inner circle. Working at the newspaper allowed me to meet so many interesting and passionate business people and it was exciting to share in their dreams.
If I could offer one piece of advice to business people, it would be to put in the hard work. Businesses don’t just happen; they are the result of a lot of hard work where you will have many job descriptions that are constantly changing. As Richard Branson says, “You don’t learn to walk by following rules. You learn by doing, and by falling over.”
One of my favourite books is Life of Pi by Yan Martel. Key lessons learned from this book that can be applied to business are to stay focused, strength comes from within and life is all about the adventure. With the ever-changing marketplace, it is equally important to build and promote long lasting customer relationships. It is imperative to expand your network to include other businesses, community members, business groups and local government.
Outdoor adventures are high on my priority list. I enjoy hiking, kayaking, and just being in the outdoors. Every summer, I challenge myself on multi-day adventure. Some of my trips include a kayaking trip up to the Broughton Archipelago, backpacking trips on the West Coast Trail and in the Canadian Rockies. My goal is to continue to be active and challenge myself for many years to come.
Related jobs and achievements include Advertising Sales Manager; Financial Advisor and Loans Administrator; Community Futures Marketing Committee Volunteer; Volunteer and Director for Qualicum Beach Fire and Ice and Parksville Beach Festival; Outstanding Customer Service Award Recipient, Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce.
I was assigned the position of Director of Communications – Nanaimo Port Authority in 2013. My most Interesting occupation to date is my current one. I realize that to be effective in this field one must always be open to learning. What is seen on the surface is supported by considerably more under the surface…Less is often more.
What have I learned over the years about being in business?
- Good Business Models are affected by Politics; Politics are part of Business.
- Many people ask you for information to confirm what they already believe…and are reluctant to change their minds.
- People with autonomy and ownership will perform with more motivation than people who are continually scrutinized, provided that the goals and timelines are clear, accountability is evident and results are acknowledged by someone they respect.
- Respect is earned and seldom achieved by title. A sincere “Thank You” can be a subtle but powerful motivator..
- Information is incomplete without context.
- Emotion produces results but, on occasion, can erode credibility.
- Relationships drive business development.
Regarding advice for business people. First, do not consider yourself as an established business until you operate for 5 years; you must survive various cycles. Secondly, most businesses fail due to under capitalization, inflexibility and misunderstanding their position in the marketplace.
Books worth a read – Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett | The Wealthy Barber by David Chilton. A foundation of regular consistent habits establishes confidence and leads to achievements that otherwise wouldn’t be considered possible. Saying “what if” creates possibilities. Passion is a core ingredient for achieving success and happiness.
I worked in business and in Government at the Provincial level, with a Federal authority (agent of) and for non-profit Organizations as staff and at the Board level, in two provinces. I am currently the Chair of the BC Ocean Boating Tourism Association and Community Futures Central Island. My understanding of these agencies along with my expertise in Organizational Development, Management, Marketing & Sales, Training and communication are what I bring to Community Futures.
I have worked for Coastal Community Credit Union for the past 26 years and I am currently the Branch Manager of the Bowen Road CCCU Branch. During that time I have helped many members and businesses achieve their financial goals.
Working within our community and with local entrepreneurs is a passion for me. I have been fortunate to have the support of CCCU and my family which allows me to volunteer in our community. I have worked for, and continue to work with, many Boards such as the Nanaimo Affordable Housing Society, the Parksville/Qualicum Community Foundation, Milner Gardens and Woodlands, Nanoose Community Services and The Nanaimo Hospice Society, to name a few.
Volunteerism is part of my genetics; it is who I am and allows me to share what I know for the benefit of others. Being a Board member for Community Futures Central Island is a wonderful opportunity for me to continue to help develop community sustainability and connect with others who believe that we can all make a difference by sharing our expertise and experiences.
I’m an old retired financial guy. I grew up in a family of entrepreneurs. My father and grandfather were merchants in Nanaimo
I have a Commerce degree from UBC and I qualified as a Chartered Accountant in 1973. I entered the business world at a time when corporate business was still done face to face. I was fortunate to travel extensively in North America, Europe, Asia and India.My years spent in the coffee and chocolate industry in Zurich and London UK were the most entrepreneurial, challenging and fascinating years of my career.
Business lessons I learned the hard way:
- Don’t ignore the financial numbers—simplify them, understand them and use them.
- Be bold, stay focused, and keep it as simple as possible.
- Develop robust plans but allow for missteps—fail fast to learn fast.
- Celebrate success and recognize those who have done a good job.
In 2008, I retired and returned to Nanaimo. I believe it is important to give back to your community, and I have been privileged to sit on the Board of Directors of United Way, John Howard Society, Habitat for Humanities, and Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation Inc. and to serve on the City of Nanaimo Grants Advisory Committee, and City of Nanaimo Social Planning Advisory Committee.
My most unique business story—during my first grocery shopping trip in Zurich, I was confused with the labels for canned tuna. I bought the most expensive label and went home to have a great tuna sandwich. The next day at work, my colleagues explained the different labels–tuna cat food vs human food. Quickly after their explanation, I started to learn German.
I have been in the banking industry for 30+ years. My current role is also my favorite role as a Banker. I have the privilege of working with and getting to know entrepreneurs all over North Vancouver Island. As a Sales Manager who works with 10 dedicated business account managers on North Vancouver Island it is inspiring to see the diversity and the passion of business owners in all of our communities.
One of the most important things I have learned over the years that I feel is essential to every business is the need to have a business plan, and that business plan needs to be a fluid document. You should be reviewing your business plan quarterly and making course adjustments as you go.
The expertise I bring to the CF Board role is my understanding of business plans, financial statements and the challenges SB owners face with access to capital. I recognize that it can take more than one partner to get a business up and running and that collaboration within the community partners can be hugely important to the success of a business and of a community.
I look forward to working more closely with Community Futures Nanaimo, looking for ways to help our community thrive and our entrepreneurs proper.
Mark Fenwick is the General Manager of Woodgrove Centre. He has 22 years of operations and marketing experience with shopping centre owner and developer Ivanhoe Cambridge, a leading Canadian company in the real estate industry. He previously worked in the financial services sector for several years after earning a Bachelor of Commerce degree from UBC. As a believer in supporting the local community, he has prior involvement with Community Futures and the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce in volunteer roles.
Mark moved backed to Nanaimo in July 2018 from Delta, BC where he oversaw the successful opening of Tsawwassen Mills, the largest enclosed mall with outlet stores in Metro Vancouver, as the General Manager. Mark embraces the challenging and dynamic role of leading a management team in the successful operation and marketing of a large destination shopping centre.
When not in the role of shopping centre manager, he enjoys spending time with his son, staying active, reading and traveling.
A born cultural entrepreneur, Patricia Huntsman’s talent is finding the place where communications and culture can meet and flourish. She is an experienced communications and cultural development professional. Prior to making Vancouver Island her home, Patricia worked nationally and internationally in senior roles in the creative industry and has a background in not-for-profit management and fundraising.
Her British Columbia based consultancy offers a roster of management, planning, and communication services tailored to building communities through culture. Patricia’s clients include local, provincial, and federal governments, arts organizations (from community-based to professional), creative workers, museums, developers and foundations.
She holds a Diploma in French Studies (Literature and Art History) from Sorbonne University in Paris, France, and an MBA from North America’s oldest public university – the University of New Brunswick, where she also earned a BA in psychology (visual perception concentration). She is a member of the professional association of Arts Consultants Canada, the Creative City Network, the Canadian Museums Association, and the British Columbia Museums Association.
At present, I help people locating funding for mortgage financing as a Mortgage Expert at DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts. One of my most interesting occupations was as Service Manager at The Keg Steakhouse & Bar Even more surprising is the fact that I’ve been bitten by black widow spiders on two separate occasions.
What I have learned over the years about being in business is to be authentic in what you do. Authenticity goes a long way in today’s business environment. I would tell business people what I practice every day -remember to take every possible occasion to get to know people and to create relationships with others in the community.
A favourite book is The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle by Haruki Murakami. And my passion at the moment is to plan to continue to stay fit and active. I wouldn’t want a lack of personal fitness to be the reason that holds me back from doing anything and everything.
My years of self-employment mean I have “been there”; I understand what business owners are dealing with today. I feel my involvement with the Young Professionals of Nanaimo allows me to bring to the table the perspective from the young entrepreneurs. As well, I bring to Community Futures a high level of customer service expertise through varying levels.
Related occupations, education, achievements related to “business expertise”: Mortgage Expert at DLC Canadian Mortgage Experts; President of the Young Professionals of Nanaimo (2013); Graduate of VIU with a BBA in Management; Chaired “Connect VI” Conference (2012); Nominated as “Top 20 Under 40” (2013)
Andrea Rosato-Taylor is the publisher of The Chronicle serving Ladysmith and Chemainus area. Andrea has been working in media for 25 years. In her various roles with newspapers in San Francisco, Vancouver and Vancouver Island – she has created and implemented many multi-media products —– that vary from event marketing, airport signage, creating new digital products for the recruitment category, specialty features, magazines etc. Her “Why” is, “you get the community you want by participating in it”.
She is not only passionate about newspapers and multi-media but is passionate about community. She has been the Chair of the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce, Director on the Nanaimo Dragon Boat Festival Society, Board of Trustee of the NCID Water Board, “Woman of Note” and Chairperson for fundraising for the Vancouver Island Symphony, President of the Downtown Ladysmith Business Association, and is a director on the Ladysmith Chamber of Commerce.
So this is me…my life…born and raised in a small town that could be otherwise referred to as the edge of the earth. As far west in Canada as you can get before you fall into the ocean. Born in Tofino on Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.
Raised in rugged Ucluelet, a small town at that time submerged in both forestry and fishing. Growing up embracing life on the coast, the simplicity of nature and the call of the ocean. Growing up in a family that embraced the value of community, I learned that it takes a “village”. “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much” ~ Helen Keller. Following in my father’s footsteps, I started a career in forestry…leaving my home on Vancouver Island and going on to own and manage two very successful companies over the next several years.
After the birth of my three children and later the sale of my business, I relocated back to Vancouver Island, where the ocean still called to me. As a single father for many years during that period of my life, I pursued a career in real estate and made a commitment to my family, my community and the area that my children and I call home a priority. It is here that I found the value of community.
I have been actively involved in our community in my support of local organizations like the Oceanside Minor Hockey Association, as an active board member with the Qualicum Beach Chamber of Commerce and Parksville Qualicum Tourism Association and have remained an active participant and volunteer in local community functions and committees. I am also a graduate of the Leadership Vancouver Island Program.
I continue to strive to be a dedicated REALTOR® that is passionate about helping people achieve their dreams and goals. I pride myself on always putting the best interests of my clients FIRST and offers specialized and complementary value-added services to my Oceanside and Nanaimo clients. I am one of a small number of accredited Seniors Real Estate Specialists (SRES®) and Accredited Buyer’s Representatives (ABR®) in our region. I work for Royal LePage Parksville Qualicum Beach Realty in Parksville – Qualicum Beach.
We all choose what we value in life and it is our responsibility to not only find it, but to help others find it as well. It takes a community. “I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples” ~ Mother Teresa
“I come to the Community Futures Central Island Board with an unwavering need to help build small businesses in the central Vancouver Island region, which in turn builds strong rural communities.”
If you are a current or retired business owner, professional or entrepreneur that is interested in a position on the Board of Directors and currently resides in Central Vancouver Island, please introduce yourself in an email.
Our board recruitment process is as follows:
- Our membership and recruitment committee implements and oversees board recruitment.
- The board shall, on at least an annual basis, or when there is a vacancy, review its composition and determine if recruitment is necessary.
- When it is determined that recruitment is necessary, the committee shall advertise the opportunity.
- The committee shall review all applications received and meet with all suitable candidates.
- After interviewing the suitable candidates, the committee shall bring new member appointment recommendations to the Board and if approved, the candidates will be appointed.
All loans and credit products must be based on a genuine assessment of the borrower’s needs, the suitability of the product to meet those needs, and demonstrated capacity to meet the repayments. If an applicant feels they have been wronged or mistreated, they may follow a redress mechanism that begins by informally complaining to the Executive Director.