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No Lily-Dippers Here- Badger Paddles Digs the Water

Aileen Taylor - Tuesday, December 09, 2014

Breathe in. Breathe out. Muskoka is a nature lover’s paradise. With its crystal blue waters and ever-changing scenery, exploration and discovery are around every corner.

Learning all the tricks of the trade when it comes to working with wood from Fiona’s father, Mike and Fiona Ramsey commenced Badger Paddles in 2009 with $300 on a credit card. Sustaining the Badger & Sons name and focus on wood, Badger Paddles has continued to move up and expand their paddles and other wood products. Both Mike and Fiona firmly believe in the power of being outdoors and what better place to do that than the Muskoka region? Positive health benefits have been scientifically linked to being outdoors and being active. The Ramsey family are big advocators for it, and flocks of individuals have participated in their “Paddle in the Park” contest, searching for one of the nine paddles hidden across Ontario this year, by “getting out there”.  


From their simple start, Badge Paddles has developed into a prime producer of paddles in Muskoka. Paddles are shipped across the globe and cater from novice to expert paddling abilities. Both starting in the canoe industry, Mike has always wanted to start his own business and met Fiona when she was invited to do artistic scenes on paddles. Transitioning to their own business, Mike and Fiona moved to Huntsville and Badger Paddles emerged from the woodwork. With their progressive oval paddles, bigger handles, custom wears, Badger wood oil, paddle sleeves, and more, Badger Paddles has the goods for outdoor enthusiasts and those who prefer to admire the outdoors from the comfort of their own home. An artist by trade, Fiona does custom scenery and painting on paddles that make fantastic gifts, as well as the ability to do laser engraving in colour and with customizable logos.

Coming to Muskoka Futures, Badger Paddles received the “added bonus of knowing someone with knowledge and compassion” was behind their business vision. The personal and professional support meant more than a loan and helped them work through difficulties. Growing their fan-base through an influential social media presence and local features helped get this thriving paddle-maker off the shore and into the water. Badger Paddles sees a bright future in continuing to push the boundaries and pairing with other local enterprises. Fiona designed a poster featuring a female portage and stating ‘Girls Portage Too’. Selling a large number of these posters, Fiona has some ideas of where this could head in the future.

Muskoka Futures wants to make Muskoka an economic hub and thriving community so that both those making a life here and those visiting, can enjoy it to the fullest extent. This is done by helping local entrepreneurs and businesses flourish through business support services and loan provision. By promoting sustainable local economic development, Muskoka Futures helps individuals recognize their dreams and makes it not just “about the money”. A personal interaction makes it possible for individuals to shape their dreams and their futures into something they can be proud of and that can serve the community.

Discovering what’s just around the river bend and exploring the great outdoors is what Badger Paddles is all about –experiencing the beauty of place we have the honor of calling home. Breathe in. Breathe out. Answer nature.

Visit them at: www.badgerpaddles.com 

Doing More than Just Getting the Job Done- Castle Peak Retirement Residence

Aileen Taylor - Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Talking, shopping, outings, exercise and playing card games are often an average day for people. The only difference for this group is that there might be a handful more walkers and canes then your regular Sunday stroll.


Established since March 2013, Castle Peak Retirement Residence is a family owned and operated retirement residence that offers a smaller and more intimate experience for its residents. Born and raised in Muskoka, both Carlie and Todd have established their business by being rooted in the community. Carlie has been a Registered Nurse since 1996 and has spent most of her career involved with seniors care. Todd owns and operates another successful local business in town.  Their new business venture of Castle Peak Retirement Residence was born from this support basis. Living onsite, personal involvement and experience are a point of pride for the Willford family. Always adding new events while encouraging residents to be active in the community, these specific characteristics allow Castle Peak to set themselves apart.

Turning the vision of Castle Peak into a reality required a firm foundation of individuals and community support, as well as a strong financial backing. With those in the community already on board, Muskoka Futures offered the financial support Castle Peak was looking for. Carlie spoke of the struggles presented by their personal position of attaining a mortgage for such a large property. “Without Muskoka Futures, I’m not sure where we’d be right now or if we’d even be here”. With great support, Castle Peak reached full-occupancy within 18 months, filling 56 rooms. Currently featuring a large waiting list, the mantra of ‘make it or break it’ in regards to the business has been decided: “We made it”, Carlie says. She feels it is important for others to have the same opportunity that they did for a good grounding and support system within the community.

Muskoka Futures wants to make Muskoka an economic hub and thriving community so that both those making a life here and those visiting, can enjoy it to the fullest extent. This is done by helping local entrepreneurs and businesses flourish through business support services and loan provision. By promoting sustainable local economic development, Muskoka Futures helps individuals recognize their dreams and makes it not just “about the money”. A personal interaction makes it possible for individuals to shape their dreams and their futures into something they can be proud of and that can serve the community.

So don’t be fooled by the title. Retirement hardly means slowing down for the individuals of Castle Peak Retirement Residence and definitely keeps the staff happily busy. With the feeling of extended family promoted through this family-owned retirement residence, a warm and happy new home awaits for any senior looking to experience a fun, active and social retirement. 

Visit them at: www.castlepeakmuskoka.com

Open For Business Expo- PRESS RELEASE

Aileen Taylor - Tuesday, October 07, 2014

      

 
 

Media Release
For Immediate Release

Bracebridge, ON

October 7th, 2014

Discover our New Muskoka Businesses!

No need to wonder anymore about the new businesses in Muskoka! A new event called Open for Business Expo will have new businesses from all over Muskoka together in one place on Monday October 20 at the Rotary Centre for Youth in Bracebridge.  They will be set up and ready to tell you all about their businesses and the products and services they have to offer. This innovative and expansive event has not only the business owners excited, but all of Muskoka too!

‘Buy Local’ has become a firm message in communities across the country and partners throughout Muskoka have rallied together to shine a spotlight on local businesses and give them the recognition they deserve for all of their hard work.  Consumers continue to be conscious about using local businesses and services and are encouraged to participate in this event.

As the benefits of shopping locally in Muskoka are seen on a larger scale and with a broader reach to more people, the first ever Open for Business Expo will provide consumers the opportunity to learn about the variety of new businesses available right here in our own backyard.  This mini trade show will be a great opportunity for business to consumer connections and for businesses to network, connect, and create lasting partnerships.

Piloting this year’s event with their leadership are Muskoka Small Business Centre, Business Enterprise Resource Network (BERN) and Muskoka Futures.  The local Chambers of Commerce will also be represented through their participation and knowledge sharing.

The week of October 20th is the celebration of Small Business Week across the country. It is no coincidence that the Open for Business Expo will take place during this week. With such an opportunity to showcase their talent, the event is open to small and medium size new businesses that have participated in BERN’s Ontario Self Employment Assistance Program, or have been supported by Muskoka Small Business Centre and Muskoka Futures. Ontario has the fastest growing small business sector in the country and small business is truly at the heart of economic enterprise in Muskoka

So mark your calendars and come on out to this exciting new event.  It’s open to the public and sure to be both engaging and inspirational! We all look forward to seeing you there!  For more information or to register, contact Stefanie Hill at Muskoka Futures, (705) 646-9511 ex. 270, or Nicole Fraser at Muskoka Small Business Centre, (705)646-9021.

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Stefanie Hill

Muskoka Futures

(705) 646-9511 ex. 270

hill@muskokafutures.ca 

Nicole Fraser

Muskoka Small Business Centre

(705) 646-9021

nicole@muskokaenterprisecentre.com

Life is a Party- Celebrate with Muskoka Party Rentals!

Aileen Taylor - Monday, September 29, 2014

Everyone loves a good cake, enjoys music, conversation, and celebrations with loved ones. All of these things come together at a good party.

That’s where Muskoka Party Rentals comes in, helping plan out an event that will leave you and your guests wanting more. Celebrating a decade of operation this November, Muskoka Party Rentals offers everything “from tents to teaspoons”. Working with their varied customer base which host intimate backyard shindigs or weddings at local resorts, Kim Rixon and her team travel the surrounding area with spectacular word-of-mouth transfers. A combination of outside and local support has kept Muskoka Party Rentals busy all these years.

Upon hearing that the local party rental company would be going out of business, Kim left her job to take on the new professional venture of providing party supply services. She immediately joined the Canadian Rental Association where she sits on the board, and numerous Muskoka Chambers. Muskoka Party Rentals gives back to the community. They established their own building near Rocky Island Tire Co on Barron Drive, now processes their own linens, providing an array of colour options. They also feature tents larger than they’ve ever had before.

Keeping up with the ever-changing trends, Kim has her work cut out for her. A fresh new logo has been released for the company’s anniversary to go with all their changes.

After receiving a business loan from Muskoka Futures, Kim has attended workshops and participated in the mentorship program. “It is great to be paired with an ethical business person because you bring that into your own business,” she says. Kim will now be participating as a mentor, passing on her knowledge and already has advice for new business owners: “Take advantage of the programs and business support offered because they are invaluable - No one person can know everything and it is great to know there is a place you can come to ask questions”.

Muskoka Futures wants to make Muskoka an economic hub and thriving community so that both those making a life here and those visiting, can enjoy it to the fullest extent. This is done by helping local entrepreneurs and businesses flourish through business support services and loan provision. By promoting sustainable local economic development, Muskoka Futures helps individuals recognize their dreams and makes it not just “about the money”. A personal interaction makes it possible for individuals to shape their dreams and their futures into something they can be proud of and that can serve the community.

Making milestones memorable is what Muskoka Party Rentals does. So whether it’s an event big or small, you know exactly who to call to make your party rock.

Visit them at: www.muskokapartyrentals.ca

Rocking out to a whole new sound -Hunters Bay Radio is first on the dial

Aileen Taylor - Monday, August 18, 2014

With windows down, wind blowing through your hair and music playing on the radio, you can feel emotions and connect to things in a way you didn’t think was possible – that is what makes music special.

Hunter’s Bay Radio is community owned and run, setting this Huntsville team apart from other networks. Rocking the sound waves on the internet since 2009, HBR recently acquired their FM licencing to provide Muskoka on air sounds and commentary. HBR is heavily involved in the local music scene, supporting events like the Downtown Huntsville Sidewalk Stage and Muskoka Sound in September. Concentrating on local events, music and community, HBR has an open-style studio that provides a feeling of inclusion and a sense of awe, as anyone can walk into where broadcasts are recorded.

HBR has a huge online and social media following, a news department and about 40 volunteers in the community. Listeners from across the globe have only had positive comments about the station. As the sole independent voice of Muskoka, HBR filled a gap in community programming. Managing Director Jeff Carter brought individuality to Muskoka through his passion for music and promotion of local artists. A stage within the studio plays host to live public music night broadcasts. This wider experience that Jeff and his strong management team of experienced professionals strive for, provides not only a place for local artists, but the ability to bring social commentary back to the media. 


 

Muskoka Futures was an integral companion in the journey HBR took to spread their musical excitement and community-based commentary on FM radio. This continued expansion makes Jeff and his team feel great about the next steps for HBR, getting bigger and more popular. “I just wanted to offer something different from the mainstream media”.

Muskoka Futures wants to make Muskoka an economic hub and thriving community so that both those making a life here and those visiting, can enjoy it to the fullest. Muskoka Futures helps local entrepreneurs and businesses flourish through business support services and loan provision. By promoting sustainable local economic development, Muskoka Futures makes a personal connection with individuals, helps them recognize their dreams and makes it about more than “the money.”

Hunter’s Bay Radio: something different, something independent and the first channel on your dial. It’s pretty simple to find them and you won’t be disappointed in their musical taste, nor their promotion of the vast talent we have in Muskoka. Tune into HBR – keeping it local.

Visit them at: www.huntersbayradio.com

MEDIA RELEASE - SEGBAY Chamber Receives Muskoka Futures Funding for Tourism Map

Aileen Taylor - Tuesday, August 05, 2014


45  Lone Pine Road

Port Severn, ON  L0K 1S0

MEDIA RELEASE                                                                                                     August 5, 2014.

SEGBAY Chamber Receives Muskoka Futures Funding For Tourism Map

Port Severn - The Southeast Georgian Bay Chamber of Commerce (SEGBAY.ca) is pleased to announce a $4000 grant from Muskoka Futures, through the Muskoka Community Initiative (MCI), for the design and manufacture of a tourism map installed at the Muskoka Tourism Information Centre.

 

The Muskoka Community Initiative (MCI), which is designed to assist local organizations and communities in their pursuit of creative community-based projects that promote and support economic self-sufficiency and independence, has provided funding to assist in the creation of this map.

 

The map provides visitors with easy access to the locations of the tourism attractions, and their contact information, in the southeast Georgian Bay region during and after business hours, benefitting and sustaining not only the attractions, but also accommodations and hospitality businesses in the region.  The local attractions will benefit from increased visitors to the area, and this will provide jobs to seasonal workers.  The map also illustrates the ATV and snowmobile trails in the region.  There is spin-off revenue for the businesses that request signage above the map, hospitality businesses that benefit from the tourism in the area.

The Southeast Georgian Bay Chamber of Commerce is very pleased overall with the completed project.  The sign and map greatly enhances the entrance to the Muskoka Tourism/Chamber of Commerce facility.

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The objective of the Southeast Georgian Bay Chamber of Commerce shall be to promote and improve trade and commerce and the economic, civic and social welfare of the district while preserving the environment.

                                                                     

 

Beer Drinkers Deserve the Best -Lake of Bays Will Keep You Thirsty for More

Aileen Taylor - Thursday, July 24, 2014


Simply put: they make beer. An answer short and sweet for the complex process required to design flavours, brew, and promote the beverage that many of us enjoy during hot summer evenings and as a dinner accompaniment.

Lake of Bays Brewing Company has mastered just that, combining the art of brewing different seasonal and year-around beers with community involvement, local hiring, and creative expansion of an already successful business. President and founder Darren Smith always knew he wanted to start his own business. He watched his father build a business from the ground up and establish himself in the community. Knowing he wanted to do the same in a different field, Darren headed off to study economics. It wasn’t until his last year of school and the right circumstances in the Baysville area, that Darren put his true kitchen brewing skills to the test. He invested time planning his business and creating a start-up of what would become a household name for craft beer. Construction started in the fall of 2009 and was open by May 2010.

     


Since then, Darren says “It can be like riding a tiger”. With rapid growth comes the necessity for rapid adaptation, especially in such a quickly flourishing industry. This niche manufacturer saw changes that were at times difficult, but have helped make Lake of Bays the established company it is today. With a strong local presence in the community through Chamber membership, local employment, and sponsorship of community events, Lake of Bays targets a broad range of customers. Muskoka Futures was an advocate in helping Lake of Bays to continue broadening their reach, offering support for expansion, additional unitank fermenters and equipment for single-serving tall cans were purchased. Increases in production and new equipment have led to an upsurge in employment. Darren has participated in Muskoka Futures’ mentorship program, and says establishing and maintaining these connections is important, and he continues to find them helpful today. 


Muskoka Futures wants to make Muskoka an economic hub and thriving community so that both those making a life here and those visiting, can enjoy it to the fullest extent. This is done by helping local entrepreneurs and businesses flourish through business support services and loan provision. By promoting sustainable local economic development, Muskoka Futures makes a personal connection with individuals, helps them recognize their dreams and makes it about more than “the money”.

Lake of Bays Brewing Company sees a strong future, expanding into other provinces and filtering starting into the United States. You may have seen their NHL Alumni beers, releasing a new beer every three months and featuring classic hockey players like “China Wall” Johnny Bower and “Cujo” Curtis Joseph. For those into a sport of a different kind, keep an eye out for CFL Alumni-themed beers that should be available in time for this year’s Grey Cup. Starting simply and ending simply: they make beer with copious amounts of character. 

Visit them at: lakeofbaysbrewing.ca

No Need to Fish Around- Blue Marlin

Aileen Taylor - Friday, June 20, 2014

You may not have seen the Blue Marlin, nestled in among the trees alongside Highway 11 North at Gravenhurst. It hasn’t been there long, so no one can fault you if your eye skips over it but you really are missing out.


A chef for 21 years, Blue Marlin President Chris Rooney aspires to bring food back to the ‘good ole days’, where you could buy things fresh and plan your menu according to availability. Providing fresh wholesale and retail seafood in Muskoka that is sustainable and wild, Blue Marlin has been open since 2011 and offers one of the healthiest seafood options. Seizing an opportunity that Muskoka lacked a seafood market, Chris backs up his claim of freshness with a quality product that tastes as it should. Blue Marlin services local golf courses, restaurants, caterers, and the every-day Joe, maintaining a large local consumer base.

Muskoka Futures was integral by providing the capital investment and business know-how required to get Chris’s dream off the ground and establish what is now Blue Marlin. Chris says he came into Muskoka Futures with an idea but lacked the know-how of exactly what he needed to make his business a reality. Muskoka Futures focused him to answer some tough questions and look at the viability of the big picture. “I never feel nervous at Muskoka Futures … there is a constant learning curve and Muskoka Futures was extensive in their support, offering help and keeping up with the business.” In the preliminary stages of the mentor program offered through Muskoka Futures’ Business Support Program, Chris will be working with a local mentor to help him tighten up ship around the management aspects of his business.

Muskoka Futures wants to make Muskoka an economic hub and thriving community so that those living here and those visiting, can enjoy it to the fullest extent. This is done by helping local entrepreneurs and businesses flourish through business support services and loan provision. By promoting sustainable local economic development, Muskoka Futures helps individuals recognize their dreams and makes it not just “about the money”. A personal interaction makes it possible for individuals to shape their dreams and their futures into something they can be proud of and that can serve the community.

In the future, Blue Marlin would like to hire additional staff, open a home-delivery aspect, and possibly do a winter Blue Marlin Fish School, teaching individuals how to handle, season, and cook seafood. Chris currently offers seniors and service individuals a 10% and 15% discount respectively. “I want people to stay healthy, and eat healthy. It’s a win-win for everybody”. Chris works with his family and hopes to one day pass the business on to his sons, opening additional locations to expand his reach of sustainable and delicious seafood even further.

New this year, Chris makes all his deliciously fresh fish available at some of the Muskoka Farmer’s Markets now in full swing, including Gravenhurst, Baysville, and Bracebridge markets. Don’t miss out on the Blue Marlin anymore … 

Visit them at: www.bluemarlinseafoodmarket.com

FedNor announces funding for Muskoka Futures and MCN

David Brushey - Saturday, October 26, 2013
Harper Government invests to support growth of Parry Sound–Muskoka start-ups
Funding to Accelerate Business Development and Stimulate Growth Throughout the Region

HUNTSVILLE, Ontario, October 25, 2013 — The Honourable Tony Clement, Member of Parliament for Parry Sound–Muskoka, on behalf of the Honourable Greg Rickford, Minister of State for Science and Technology, and FedNor, and Minister responsible for the Ring of Fire, today announced an investment by the Harper Government to help create jobs, growth and prosperity for the Parry Sound–Muskoka region.

“The Harper Government is proud to invest in initiatives that promote sustainable economic growth in Parry Sound–Muskoka,” said Minister Clement. “By supporting the development of business accelerators and incubators, our Government is helping to spur innovation and providing entrepreneurs with the tools they need to develop their ideas and grow their operations, leading to a stronger more diversified economy.”

FedNor funding of $443,700 will help create both a business incubator and business accelerator for the Parry Sound–Muskoka region. Of the total, the Muskoka Community Futures Development Corporation will receive $333,730 to establish a business incubator that will provide mentoring, coaching and training programs, business readiness assessments, as well as workshops to assist entrepreneurs commercialize their products and ideas. And $110,000 will enable Muskoka Community Network to complete a feasibility study and develop a business plan to create a technology accelerator and data centre in the Town of Huntsville.

These FedNor investments complement the Government of Canada’s Venture Capital Action Plan, a $400-million strategy launched in January to help increase private sector venture capital investments across Canada. Economic Action Plan 2013 provided $60 million over five years to help outstanding and high-potential incubator and accelerator organizations expand their services to worthy entrepreneurs.

“On behalf of the citizens of Huntsville and the entire Parry Sound–Muskoka region, I welcome this FedNor investment to develop, enhance and diversify the regional economy,” said Mayor Claude Doughty, Mayor of Huntsville. “Today’s announcement will provide entrepreneurs throughout the area with the resources they need to grow, innovate, bring ideas to the marketplace and create jobs.”

The funding announced today is provided through FedNor’s Northern Ontario Development Program, which supports projects that promote sustainable community economic development, enhance business development and growth, and facilitate innovation throughout the region.

"Our Government remains focused on providing the right environment for economic growth, through effective cooperation across all sectors, to keep Canadians working and to ensure the long-term prosperity of all our communities," concluded Minister Rickford.

To find out more about our programs and services, please visit: fednor.gc.ca and follow us on Twitter @FedNor.

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For more information, please contact:

Mary Ann Dewey-Plante
Director of Communications
Office of the Honourable Greg Rickford
613-943-6177

Barclay Babcock
Communications Officer
FedNor
705-690-0957 / 877-333-6673 Ext 303

Celebrate Ontario 2013 is now open for applications

David Brushey - Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Celebrate Ontario is an annual program through the Ontario Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport, that helps new and existing festivals and events enhance their programs, activities and services. The program also supports bid and event hosting costs of major one-time events and festivals attracting out-of-province visitors through the Blockbuster category.

This support helps grow tourism in the province by making it easier for event organizers to offer new and improved experiences that will attract more tourists and increase visitor spending.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: All organizers of festivals and events are required to apply via the new Grants Ontario web-based application system.

Applicants must register with the Government of Ontario’s encrypted ONe-key log-in system at Grants Ontario as users and apply online. You are strongly encouraged to register for your ONe-key password as soon as possible to ensure you meet the application deadline.

* Full details, including what’s eligible, how to apply, and when to apply are on the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport’s website at: www.ontario.ca/celebrateontario.

Your local tourism advisor can also assist you with any questions you might have about Celebrate Ontario Main Stage and Signature 2013 grant applications.



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