John Tully, left, chats with Jim Fitt, president of the Pictou County Chamber of Commerce, following the NOBL AGM. AMANDA JESS – THE NEWS
Michelin Development is hoping to help create at least 250 jobs, if all goes according to plan.
At the Northern Opportunities for Business Limited annual general meeting Tuesday evening in New Glasgow, John Tully, president of Michelin Development Canada, revealed details of a planned partnership with NOBL, a business development organization, and Bergengren Credit Union.
“We want to make sure we’re able to put jobs back in the community that are being taken out as a result of the closing of that tire line at the Granton plant,” Tully said.
NOBL executive director Ron O’Brien said the program is similar to what they do already, but with more funds available.
“It’s an absolutely wonderful opportunity to combine all of our resources and move forward for the business community. Right now, banks are having a hard time coming up with money for local businesses, but we’re not. We’re a good alternative,” O’Brien said, adding that they also offer supports for the businesses they help, such as training and advice. “This is a good time for people to be thinking about getting into business. The economy may be bad, but that doesn’t mean it’s a bad time to start your business.”
Through the partnership, they hope to be able to offer as much as $300,000 for a basic loan.
Michelin Development looks to create jobs, both reactively and proactively, through a low interest loan program and free business expertise.
“In both ways, we look to work with small businesses to see how we can help them either grow or begin by using those two tools that we have,” Tully said.
The partnership has some red tape to cut through and Michelin Development website testing and vetting.
They’re hoping to begin accepting applications in July for any type of small quality sustainable business, already existing or just starting, in Pictou, Antigonish, Colchester and Guysborough Counties.
“This is pure speculation, but if everything goes perfectly, we could see a loan in August, but I think it’s more realistic in the fall,” Tully said.
The program has been implemented in other areas, including Ontario, where a job creation target of 550 actual jobs was almost met, just short by 14, Tully said.
He stressed that the program isn’t only for former employees, many of whom retire, relocate to other plants or take severance.
The options available for employees affected by downsizing don’t mitigate the overall effect on the community, he said, adding that Michelin Development tries to do that.
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