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City Council Approves Economic Recovery Framework

Businesses in Kitchener are hurting. The City is here to help.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a major impact on local businesses. While some businesses have thrived, many others have been hard hit, including those dependent on in-person interactions, like restaurants, movie theatres, personal services, hospitality, performance venues and artists. Both business owners and their staff have been deeply affected.

Kitchener's priority is to support and ‘lift up’ the businesses and employees most negatively impacted by the pandemic. In the fall, City Council approved Make It Kitchener 2.0, which included a $5 million commitment to support an agile and flexible economic recovery framework. If approved, this framework will guide the City's economic recovery initiatives, including a new $1 million seed fund to directly support businesses and stimulate growth and opportunity.

“Over the past year, Kitchener businesses have continually needed to pivot and adapt to changing circumstances as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. “Both Council and I care deeply about every business and resident who has been impacted by the challenges of the past year. I believe this economic recovery framework, implemented collaboratively with our businesses and community partners, will be the start of a brighter tomorrow as we work to build back better, together.”

The City’s economic recovery approach focuses on two main opportunities:

  1. Unleash our community spirit and spending power
    • This will include launching a “Love My Business” program, accelerating food, retail, and service businesses, making business re-openings easy, and bringing the city to life through music and events when it’s safe to do so.
  2. Accelerate a new wave of entrepreneurship and innovation
    • This will include supporting start-ups and scale-ups, launching an entrepreneurial network, and working to attract new businesses.

 “We’ve seen Kitchener businesses reinvent themselves like never before, but many have been left behind,” said Councillor Paul Singh. “I’m excited to see our economic recovery plan include creative campaigns that I’m really passionate about, like Love My Business. This will help reignite much-needed support for our local businesses.”

The plan proposes to invest a minimum of $2 million to support our local service industry, including a partnership with the Waterloo Region Tourism & Marketing Corporation to provide $125,000 in grant funding for the Tourism Adaptation & Recovery Program. The City will also invest $1.5 million to partner with Communitech to deliver business recovery supports over three years, including extending the use of Kitchener’s Innovation Lab.

Read the full plan here.

Article Last Updated 13.04.2021

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