June 08, 2004 - ST. THOMAS, ON

The Lanark-North Leeds area Community Futures Development Corporation – Valley Heartland CFDC – was recognized last week for demonstrating excellence in serving the Community Futures mandate.  The Ontario Association of Community Futures Development Corporations (OACFDC) presented the Fourth Annual Community Futures Awards in partnership with Desjardins Financial Security.
This year's winner was honoured at the OACFDC’s 2004 Conference, "On the Horizon", which took place May 30-June 1 at the Four Points Sheraton in London.
“Receiving this award is a vote of confidence for the volunteer Board and staff of Valley Heartland,” says Bill Jamieson, Board Chair with Valley Heartland.  “It sends the message that others are taking note of the leadership role they have taken locally, and motivates them to continue their high standard of work.”
Valley Heartland CFDC had a significant local impact in 2003, specifically in terms of its business development, and its approach to access to capital.
Valley Heartland received the Outstanding Achievement Awards trophy, along with a cheque for $750, which will assist to fund the updating of the regional business directory and land/building database developed by Valley Heartland.  The Awards Program also included awards for Entrepreneur of the Year, as well as Youth, Innovation and Community Economic Development Initiatives.
"On the Horizon" attracted a cross-section of nearly 300 participants, including CFDC staff and volunteers, as well as municipal, provincial and federal government representatives.  CFDCs support community economic development, by assisting Ontario’s rural and northern communities to strengthen and diversify their economies.  As community-based, non-profit organizations, CFDCs are run by a board of local volunteers.  They are staffed by professionals who encourage entrepreneurship and the pursuit of economic opportunities.
The OACFDC is a provincial association committed to supporting and providing services to its membership to improve capacity, efficiency and effectiveness.  Information about the Community Futures Program and "On the Horizon" can be found online at

Valley Heartland, Smiths Falls 
For information, contact:  John Doherty, Executive Director, 613-283-7002
Strategic Community Planning and Development 
Valley Heartland (VH) acts as the lead Regional Economic Development body, by virtue of its integrated approach to economic development that has combined the CFDC mandate with that of the Regional Municipality.  In addition to core federal funding, formal service agreements with both the County of Lanark and the Town of Smiths Falls assist with VH’s efforts to deliver County-wide economic development.
Another factor in this approach has been VH’s role in forming the Economic Development Officers Network, so the various Municipalities meet quarterly to work on collaborative initiatives to develop the entire area.
Business Services 
Valley Heartland received many accolades for its visionary and practical service delivery model, in the form of the Regional Centre for Business Development & Innovation (RCBDI).  The RCBDI is anchored by VH and complemented by many onsite partner agencies.
Access to Capital 
Valley Heartland has taken a unique approach to access to capital by "patching together" several programs, including its own Community Loan Fund, to provide a continuum of capitalization that addresses early-stage, to commercialization, to expansion financing.
Another unique piece of capitalization is available through the Community Venture Capital Fund, a fund formed through a consortium of CFDCs in East Region, Industry Canada, and private investors ($200 to $500K).  This higher-end funding has made the area more attractive for Research & Development, and high-tech firms looking to locate in the region.  The tight venture capital market of the past few years has created VH with an opportunity to promote capital programs, in conjunction with its strategic location, as a decided advantage in locating a business.