rip1.pngGovernment Mental Hoola Hoopla

If you haven’t already heard, it was created by the Canadian Government at around the “turn of times” as I’ll call it. The time before the Covid announcement. The program of which I am referring was something exciting, of economic significance, or so it seemed.. To my humble knowledge and memory, I had first heard about it sometime at the end of 2019 or beginning of 2020 as announced on the news. Let me just say, that I have no idea if the program is actually dead, I’m still waiting to
hear something back from a recent email, but from my point of view, it surely seems to be so.

Here’s how it went. After hearing about it, I thought, “Hey! Bear Lake needs some of that!” Investment Readiness Program. “What is it?” I asked myself. It sounds good. So the news on the Canadian front sounded grand! Oh my word! Money offered (oh the kindness) dangling like a carrot and gratis like the prize inside of an old box of Alphabets, circa 1970 or something. Once again, the almighty government seems to have cooked up a miraculous plan to help struggling Canadians find what they need to... Wait. Stop right there. That’s the hook! FIND. FIND-FIND-FIND.

Say it with my now my Dear Readers. And I’ll tell you the story of my personal experience with the Investment Readiness Program, hereto and forward to be known as the IRP. Now according to their website:   https://www.imaginecanada.ca/en/investment-readiness-program 

They write: What is the Investment Readiness Program ) (IRP)? To help charities, non-profits, co-operatives, and other social purpose organizations access money that will be made available through the Social Finance Fund, the Investment Readiness Program (IRP) will provide up to $100,000 in funding per organization for eligible organizations. With this funding, these organizations will be able to access supports to build their capacity to accept social finance lending and investment. Some examples of how this funding can be used include: rip2.png

* Explore a new business idea or develop a business plan to test your idea
* Create a marketing plan to reach new audiences
* Plan new products or services to grow revenue
* Prepare documentation to approach potential investors

Alrighty-roo. So I decided to go down their rabbit hole. I signed up for emails. Attended a webinar. Searched their sites. Made a call to one of the “foundations sorting centres” (my words). This one is The Prince George Community Foundation located on the lower level of 770 Brunswick Street at the bottom level of the Coast Inn of the North. 

Nothing. I had left a message asking if someone could come out and speak to us here in Bear Lake. The person who answered the phone didn’t know and said they’d call X person. X person called back and directed me to what I guess is the Federal site; thus I commenced frittering away my time on TMI that resulted in nothing again. A lot of links, but nothing-nothing-nothing.

And today, sitting down to write this very article, I figure, well, let’s just see what else I might be able to dig up. Couldn’t there be SOMEthing? So I tried to conjure a bit of much needed optimism and went to the Government of Canada website after a year of “I never wanna see another Government website in my life!” Alas, I went there anyways: If you want to try. Here it is:     Investment Readiness Program

And it says: ... How it works, yada-yada... I think it should say how it “doesn’t work” for all you Little People out there. This is part of the email I TRIED to send
today.

rip3.pngMy goal was to search for help in (accessing information and general development) establishing a viable cooperative greenhouse to supply such produce as cucumbers, tomatoes, lettuce, herbs etc... Unfortunately, I reached a dead end as I had worked my way (as much as possible) through forms, made calls, attended webinars, but all and all, a search in vain. Due to time constraints, I slowly lost hope on any real help from IRP.

Even though last year, my hope had fizzled out as I learned that it was an exercise in futility: The mere filling out of forms. And chasing after anonymous people who (it
would seem) should exist, but are behind dozens of secretarial guards who field the calls for them.

The whole process is like trying to reach the End of The Internet, bouncing around from site to site, from this person to that. And no one really knows.

Even still, although I knew that the whole thing was beyond me, I still tried doing independent research, writing summaries on the needs and goals of our community, but slowly, slowly, I realized that all of this was just a futile exercise in attempting to fill out a twenty page form. Not just simply little “fill in the blank” type questions. I’m talking questions that have questions attached to them by default where the answers aren’t available to a typical person. It’s a “set you up for failure” scenario from the get-go.

Yes, that’s a nice question. But to whom do I go for an answer?

Yes, my dear friends, we’ve slowly seen the destruction of small business by the huge corporate giants that took over our cities. We’ve seen recently the “locking up” of small businesses and churches and restricting the general people’s movements, but politicians move freely. Maybe a long time ago, it may have been the case that government existed to serve the rest of the population, but today, that is not the case. They exist to serve themselves.

Note* At the time of writing this, I thought, I’ll try once again to unfizzle my “fizzled out” state. I’ll try to request info from this Almighty Government of Canada site.

Here’s what I got:rip4.png

Thank you for your email and apologies for the delay in response. The majority of IRP funding has been transferred to community partners who are responsible
for establishing application processes to distribute grants to eligible SPOs. SPOs can use this funding to improve their capacity and ability to participate in the social finance market, consider new investment financing and contract opportunities, and gain support along the readiness continuum.

The following organizations are responsible for accepting applications from SPOs. Please consult their websites to find out their specific offerings within the granting
program for IRP funds and other supports, including their timeframe for applications

( ... ... ... ) You know what I received? More links!!! I spent a good part of two months last year trying to figure it all out. Webinared and linked to death!

After all is said and done and this is from my lilly ole point of view, I have to say:

Rest in Peace Investment Readiness Program. I’ve had enough of bureaucracy. For which, I might add, one of the meanings is this:

An excessively complicated administrative procedure, seen as characteristic of bureaucracy: the unnecessary bureaucracy in local government.

What is mildly amusing is the fact that “bureaucracy” sounds like the beginning of the word, “bury”. They do bury what people need to know.

They know that ordinary people have no time for it. Yet they proudly proclaim how much good they are doing. Where? What are they doing for us here in Bear Lake?

SANDRA EL


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