Hutchings re-announces economic development funds

James
James McLeod
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Innovation, Business and Rural Development Minister Keith Hutchings speaks of two mega-funds, for businesses and community groups, in Petty Harbour Thursday afternoon. — Photo by James McLeod/The Telegram

Innovation, Business and Rural Development Minister Keith Hutchings was in Petty Harbour Thursday afternoon, talking up changes he’s made to fold economic development money from 20 different programs into two mega-funds.

The media event was essentially to highlight a move that was first announced more than two weeks ago when the government rolled out its 2013 budget.

In fact, sentences from Thursday’s news release were almost word-for-word to what the government said in a news release on budget day.

Hutchings didn’t really provide any new detail, or announce any specific funding. He only said that in total there will be $47 million in two funds — $36 million for businesses and $11 million for community groups.

By just having two broad funds to draw from, instead of smaller targeted programs, Hutchings said, the department can keep things simple.

“It’s about more flexibility and being more effective in terms of serving our stakeholders,” he said.

Liberal MHA Jim Bennett was in Petty Harbour for the event and wasn’t impressed.

“There’s no detail, no amounts, no timelines,” Bennett said. “Today’s exercise seems to be a nice get-out-of-town photo op for the minister.”

But business advocate Richard Alexander said companies in the province need help from government, and by putting it all into two basic funds, it makes it easier to get.

“We’ve heard stories about businesses trying to go into the department and look for some capital to invest in communities, and you know, people spending a lot of time trying to figure out which program is best suited for them,” he said.

“At the end of the day, we’re just trying to get people the capital they need to start businesses and things like that.”

 

jmcleod@thetelegram.com

Twitter: TelegramJames

Geographic location: Petty Harbour

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  • martin harty
    April 13, 2013 - 01:35

    sounds like an article written by the fourth party.[the press]

  • What a crock
    April 12, 2013 - 19:04

    The money may be put in two honey jars but who's going to help the bears (or business people) get into them? Are the IBRD Economic development Officers going to help the business person or community group write the proposal and then be the ones to judge whether it gets approved?? I think not! What is the point of having money there that can't be accessed..unless, of course, you are a major business on east coast that can hire someone to write that proposal for you. This money is not there for the average business person or community group. That's a crock. Without the help that was provided by the regional economic development boards, there won't be the same uptake. Government will be complaining soon that there is not enough uptake. Just the reason needed to whittle away those pots next year. Good luck, NL. We're going to need it with a government like this.

  • Brian
    April 12, 2013 - 08:09

    Amazing, Richard Alexander is always stating government should cut spending, reduce employees, now i can see why, Give the money to employers, most who only pay minimum wages, time for Mr. Alexander to get a real job, GO HIDE SOMEWHERE!!!