In March 2020, business owners and entrepreneurs faced an unprecedented wave of adversity. When the COVID-19 pandemic became the world’s leading crisis, uncertainty emerged as regulations and guidelines forced small businesses to adapt their practices.

For a brief time, most businesses closed their doors to the public to reduce the virus’ spread. Upon reopening, many relied on curbside pickup and delivery to minimize their contact with customers. However, financial aid was necessary to continue navigating these challenges.

Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)

It wasn’t long until the federal government developed Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, supporting individuals and businesses across the country. One main piece of this plan to assist small business owners was the Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF).

The Government of Canada invested over $1.5 billion through the RRRF, with a significant portion given to Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs). In May 2020, we received nearly $1 million from the federal government to help local businesses.

Small business owners and entrepreneurs impacted by COVID-19 could access these interest-free loans of up to $60,000. While it was primarily open to those who weren’t eligible for other relief funds, local businesses in need of additional support could apply in certain situations.

By November 2020, we received a second investment from the Government of Canada through the RRRF program. This additional funding responded to COVID-19’s second wave, providing further assistance to Middlesex business owners and entrepreneurs.

Non-Repayable Support Program (NRSP)

In February 2021, we launched the Non-Repayable Support Program (NRSP). This funding provided up to $2,000 for entrepreneurs to offset or reduce the costs of third-party services and projects to help pivot or recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the conclusion of our COVID-19 support programs, the local impact of these investments is now clear. Between the RRRF loans and NRSP funds, we distributed over $1.5 million to local businesses across Middlesex County, including 19 contributions for third-party services.

Local Impact of COVID-19 Business Support

CFDCs assisted various businesses across Canada in the recovery from COVID-19, including 37 entrepreneurs and business owners in Middlesex County. In addition to helping business owners, the RRRF maintained thousands of jobs in Southern Ontario, with Community Futures Middlesex impacting 61 local jobs through the provision of loans.

Among local businesses that accessed this support, 62% were women-led projects and 51% were main street businesses. This disbursement also supported many different industries, across all geographic regions in Middlesex County. More details are available through the infographic below.

“We were honoured to serve as a delivery partner of financial support to small businesses in Middlesex County,” General Manager Todd Copeland said. “It aligns with our mission to assist entrepreneurs and business owners in any way possible, especially during difficult times.”

RRRF Recipient Testimonial

One recipient of the RRRF in Middlesex County has a history of transforming misfortunes into opportunities. Mostafa Heikal, the Managing Director of Angels Daycares, injured his knee in a car accident before launching his business in December 2019.

After brainstorming ideas, he decided to open a child care centre, providing an essential service for families in Middlesex County. A few months after Mostafa opened Angels Daycares in Arva, Ont., the COVID-19 pandemic hit, closing his child care centre in March 2020.

We built a great relationship with Mostafa even before the pandemic, raising his awareness of the RRRF program. It would enable him to cover his business’ overhead costs, continue to hire staff for its reopening and address the need for child care as parents returned to work.

As most businesses were taking a reserved approach to the pandemic, Mostafa opted for a more active way of dealing with these setbacks. He opened two other locations in Komoka, Ont. and Thorndale, Ont., recognizing his businesses as essential service providers in the area.

When all three daycare locations are fully operational, Angels Daycares aims to employ approximately 35 full-time employees and offer around 160 child care spots. Like his knee injury, the COVID-19 pandemic motivated Mostafa to accomplish his goals.

“The RRRF allowed us to offset the impacts of COVID-19 and provide an essential service to families in Middlesex County,” Mostafa explained. “Without this funding, we could not have maintained our momentum or fulfilled our vision amidst these very challenging times.”

Other Support for Middlesex County Businesses

If your business continues to be adversely impacted by COVID-19 and would benefit from additional funds, we may be in a position to assist you with a loan at favourable rates. Feel free to contact us at or (519) 641-6100 to learn more about other funding options.