Evaluation of the Community Futures Program

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Organization: 
Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario

Established as a national program in 1985, the Community Futures Program (CFP) has been administered in southern Ontario by the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario) since 2009. The objective of the CFP is to promote economic stability, growth and job creation leading to more diversified and competitive rural economies, and economically sustainable communities. In southern Ontario, the program is delivered through a network of 37 Community Futures Development Corporations (CFDCs). From 2009–10 to 2012–13, program expenditures, including grants and contributions and operations and maintenance, totalled $50.31 million. The support provided by FedDev Ontario enables the CFDCs to provide financing and other services to small businesses as well as to work with local partners on community strategic planning and economic development initiatives.

The objective of this evaluation is to report on the relevance and performance of the CFP in southern Ontario, in accordance with the 2009 Treasury Board of Canada Secretariat (TBS) Policy on Evaluation, Directive and Standards. The scope of the evaluation includes CFP activities funded from 2009–10 to 2012–13. The evaluation approach is based on the national Performance Measurement Strategy (PMS) approved for the CFP.

The evaluation employed multiple lines of evidence including surveys of 512 CFDC clients (309 clients who received CFDC loans and 203 non-loan clients), 79 CFDC representatives (staff and board members of CFDCs) and 73 community partners, interviews with 12 FedDev Ontario representatives and 16 other stakeholders, a document and literature review, analysis of administrative data, and four case studies focused on specific CFDCs. The case studies included document reviews, obtaining additional input from 33 representatives through interviews and focus groups, and an analysis of 110 interviews or surveys already conducted with representatives in the communities. 

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Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION
     Background
Purpose of the Evaluation
Structure of the Report
EVALUATION METHODOLOGY
Evaluation Approach and Methodology
Challenges and Limitations
THE COMMUNITY FUTURES PROGRAM IN SOUTHERN ONTARIO
Structure of the Program
The Program Model
Resources
Stakeholders
RELEVANCE OF THE PROGRAM
Continued Need for the Community Futures Program
Relationship to Other Programming
Alignment with Federal Priorities, Roles & Responsibilities
PERFORMANCE – EFFECTIVENESS
Financing and Business Development Services
Strategic Planning, Projects and Partnerships
Ultimate Outcomes
Contributing and Constraining Factors
Performance Measurement
PERFORMANCE – EFFICIENCY AND ECONOMY
Efficiency
Economy
Management of the Loan Funds
CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
Conclusions
Recommendations
Appendices
    Overview of FedDev Ontario
Evaluation Issues and Questions
Evaluation Methodology
References
Community Futures Program Logic Mode
Performance Based Funding Model

Year: 
2014
Format: 
Research report
Categories: 
Entrepreneurship & Business Development
Government
Planning and Evaluation
Policy Development & Advocacy
Source: 
Org
Theme: 

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