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Libro Prosperity Fund splits $70,000 between three regional programs

- Essex Centre BIA gets $15,000 to host “Win this Space” -



by Sylene Argent

After providing community organizations an opportunity to apply for a grant through the annual Prosperity Fund, Libro Credit Union worked its way through Essex County last Wednesday afternoon to hand out some financial support to lucky winners.

  Through the 2019 Prosperity Fund program, Libro Credit Union presented a total of $460,000 to various recipients across Southwestern Ontario; $70,000 of which was presented to support three local programs.

  The Essex Centre BIA was presented $15,000 to host a “Win this Space Essex” program, which will be similar to the program the Harrow & Colchester South Chamber of Commerce hosted last year.

  Lori Atkinson, Libro’s Regional Manager for Windsor-Essex, presented the grant to representatives of the Essex Centre BIA inside the Heritage Gardens Park pavilion it helped install with the Town of Essex last year.

  Through the Win this Space Essex program, entrepreneurs will have the opportunity to apply to be a part of a competition. Participants will be able to work on a business plan with the WindsorEssex Small Business Centre.

Eventually, through a competitive process, a panel of judges will determine the finalists. The winner will receive $1000 a month for a year to put towards leasing an Essex Centre commercial storefront.

  The remaining funding will be put towards hosting and promoting the program.

  Terri Grondin-Sweet, the Essex Centre BIA’s Chairperson (who removed herself from any discussion or decision-making in regards to this program as a Libro employee) said the local business improvement area is very excited to partner with Libro and the Windsor Small Business Centre to host the Win this Space Essex program.

  She added the BIA is pleased to offer the community a program that may help local entrepreneurs get their commercial storefront ready. Even though there will only be one winner in the program, many will benefit as they learn what it takes to own a business by working with the Small Business Centre in creating a business plan. It will also help strengthen Essex economically.

  Atkinson’s feelings about the program were reflective of Grondin-Sweet’s.

  She said nobody knows Libro better than Essex. “Why we exist is to grow prosperity in Southwestern Ontario,” she said, adding this is a financial institution that re-invests profits back into the community.

  While presenting the cheque, Atkinson said she believes Libro is partnering with three “Win this Space” programs throughout Southwestern Ontario through the 2019 Prosperity Fund.

  Libro Credit Union also provided $45,000 to the LaSalle Hang Out for Youth for the LaSalle Young Leadership Program. This will target at-risk youth, ages 14-18, to develop leadership and employment sills, job training, and a community support network through organized volunteering.

  The Learning Disabilities Association of Windsor-Essex County received $10,000 for its Supported Employment Training Program, which assists youth with a diagnosed learning disability. The funds will go toward assisting participants to develop the skills needed to find and maintain employment, including social skills, interview preparation, and communication skills.   

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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