Local Small Business Supports Available In COVID-19 Recovery

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens and representatives of the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation (WE EDC) provided updates on local successes and supports available to the region’s small businesses during the recovery stage of the COVID-19 global pandemic.

Mayor Dilkens was joined by WE EDC President and CEO Stephen MacKenzie, Executive Director of the Small Business Centre Sabrina DeMarco, and Jackie McCreary, co-owner of From the Heart on Ottawa Street.

The panel discussed the ongoing supports for small business; discussed challenges faced by the economy, particularly hard hit small businesses, throughout provincial health and safety restrictions; and promised to continue advocating for small businesses with upper levels of government. In late 2020, Windsor’s mayor hosted a roundtable meeting with Ontario’s Ministry of Small Business, which included representatives from the local small business sector who had the opportunity to explain their struggles directly to the minister. That consultation played a key part in the Province launching expanded COVID-19 relief funding for businesses in mid-January. The funding stream helps Ontario businesses recover costs for personal protective equipment (PPE) and provides property tax and energy cost rebate grants for businesses that were required to shut down or significantly restrict services due to provincial public health measures.

WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation 2020 Highlights

  • New investment facilitated: $30,086,838 (Investment Attraction and Business Retention and Expansion) and $1,244,383 (Small Business Centre)
  • Investment Attraction: $4.9 million in foreign direct investment with over 100 jobs created
  • Business Retention and Expansion: assisted over 450 companies, resulting in over $25 million in local investment and over 400 jobs created
  • 120 expansions facilitated
  • 972 new jobs facilitated
  • 140 business start-ups
  • 20 funding applications and joint papers developed
  • 149 business support sessions, with 3,336 attendees

Small Business and Entrepreneurship Centre 2020 Highlights

  • 11,643 inquires received
  • 770 business consultations
  • $1,244,383 funding facilitated
  • 78 seminar workshops, with 2,435 attendees
  • 140 business start-ups
  • 104 business expansions
  • 440 jobs created

JumpStart Recovery Program

Recognizing the need for local small businesses to adapt their business models in order to thrive during and after the pandemic, the Jumpstart Recovery Program has been launched to continue to support local job creators. This funding stream will quickly equip twenty-five early-stage small, independent businesses in Windsor-Essex with a $5,000 grant, business continuity planning resources and mentorship to modify their operations and increase the likelihood of business sustainability and growth. 

Eligible businesses can use the grant to fund projects related to investments in technology; advertising costs; reconfiguring commercial space to comply with COVID-19 regulations; purchasing PPE; and offsetting expenses for payroll, utilities and leases or mortgages. Applications are now open at windsoressexsmallbusiness.com/jumpstart. Applications close on February 28.


“Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve worked to highlight local economic development efforts underway and small business supports available to help our community respond, recover, and now build back better. We can see the light at the end of this tunnel, but we still have a long way to go. I will continue to advocate for small businesses, and for a strong economic rebound. To our small business owners – we need you. You are part of what makes us resilient. Please, reach out to the WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation and the Small Business Centre. Take advantage of every offer of support to get you through the days ahead.”
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens

“To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an incredibly difficult year for our residents, our businesses and their employees is at best an understatement. It has been ‘all hands-on deck’ at WE EDC as we continue to support businesses in Windsor-Essex navigate this ‘new normal’. We have been and continue to be instrumental in providing the support and connections necessary for companies to pivot their business model and adapt to survive. We are here to service our community and provide all means necessary to ensure the economic resilience of our region. We encourage you to reach out to our organization and our Small Business Centre so that we can provide you with the support needed to get through these turbulent times.”
Stephen MacKenzie, President & CEO, WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation

Although we recognize the resiliency of our small businesses, there is no question they have been hit hard by COVID-19. Throughout this pandemic, the Small Business Centre has responded to these new realities and the needs of small business each step of the way. We attended to a record-breaking volume of business inquiries, and we are grateful to have had the opportunity to lead new funding programs that offer additional relief and supports to our region’s small businesses. With the launch of the Jumpstart Recovery Program, the Small Business Centre will direct even more funds to Windsor-Essex businesses and provide guidance as they look to sustain and adapt their businesses in this new economy.
Sabrina DeMarco, Executive Director, Small Business & Entrepreneurship Centre, WindsorEssex Economic Development Corporation

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