Local businesses receive $1 million in government funding

·2 min read

In a move to transparency, the Yukon government’s department of economic development announced and identified the recipients of their new Economic Development Fund program.

“I am glad to see the program being used by a variety of local organizations and I hope that this is only the beginning”, said the Minister of Economic Development Ranj Pillai.

This year, 28 different projects will be provided with more than $1 million, with individual projects being funded within a broad range of value, from $1,500 to $184,000.

New program

Late last year the department merged its previous three programs (Regional Economic Development, Strategic Industries Development and the Enterprise Trade fund) into one new program, and tiered it according to the amount of funding requested, making it much like the CDF (Community Development Fund). This model allows the funders to draw on a wide swathe of eligible projects, then assesses which ones rise to the top to be funded according to criteria and priorities.

The list of eligible entities for this new program is extensive, as is the list of eligible activities. Projects can receive a grant of up to 75 per cent of project costs and up to 50 per cent of capital costs. This is the first time that capital costs have been eligible in Yukon’s economic programs for over two decades.

The news release states that the objective of this funding program is to provide long-term, sustainable economic benefits to Yukoners and Yukon communities. It also says that projects were evaluated with a lens that included an assessment of climate change impacts and alignment with the Clean Future strategy.

Successful recipients

Seventy-seven applications were received since April 1 and about 43 per cent were declined or withdrawn. Some applications are still being assessed.

According to the background information provided by Economic Development, and re-sorted by dollar value by the Yukon News, the following four projects each received over $100,000:

The mid-sized recipients were:

The full list is available online.

The response

Early response has been mixed from the business community. The program is new, and it involves a new way of deciding. The Yukon Chamber of Commerce has requested a conversation with the department to understand the new decision-making process. Denny Kobayashi, the executive director of the Yukon Chamber of Commerce indicated that some in their membership are concerned about issues such as competitiveness and market disruption.

When asked about competitive advantage being achieved through government funding, spokesperson Damian Topps responded that “all eligible businesses are welcome to apply and are subject to an eligibility screening and project evaluation process.”

Other businesses are pleased with the transparency of the new Economic Development Fund because now people know where funding is going, and who is getting funded, and for what purpose. This information wasn’t available under the previous three programs.

Lawrie Crawford, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Yukon News

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting