Press releases

Successful Funding Forum empowers business growth in Peterborough and the Kawarthas

June 14, 2023 – PETERBOROUGH, ON – Yesterday, the Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (“ICPK”) and Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development (“PKED”) successfully hosted their annual Peterborough & the Kawarthas Funding Forum at The Venue, Peterborough. The forum, an exciting mix of networking, panel discussions, and keynote speech, has been hailed as a major success in empowering the regional business community.

“Our goal today is to connect entrepreneurs to the various funding programs available,” said Nicole Stephenson, Interim CEO of the Innovation Cluster, during her opening remarks. “Understanding the processes of getting funding, determining how much is needed, and finding the right avenues is crucial for the growth and success of any business venture.”

A highlight of the event was an insightful panel discussion on funding for startups and emerging growth companies facilitated by Madeleine Hurrell, Manager of the Business Advisory Centre, Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development. The discussion involved representatives from Southern Ontario Fund for Investment in Innovation (SOFII), Futurpreneur, Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario), Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), and Community Futures Peterborough. The panel answered critical questions from the audience on topics ranging from funding sources, application preparedness, the application process, and funding eligibility.

“Entrepreneurs should start by exploring low-interest funding sources like banks and personal contacts,” said the representative from SOFII. “Moreover, having a solid business plan and a two-year sales projection is essential for securing funding,” added the representative from Futurpreneur. The panel also emphasized the importance of timeliness, completeness of applications, and the understanding of each organization’s funding mandate.

The event concluded with a powerful keynote address by Charlie Atkinson, a successful executive, and entrepreneur with over four decades of leading business initiatives at global powerhouses such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP, Xerox, Kodak, and Sharp Electronics. “I’ve learned over the years that it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of stakeholders, work effectively in teams, and be patient and prepared,” said Atkinson. He stressed four key areas for entrepreneurs: people, partnerships, profitability, and productivity, and shared important strategies for business success.

Rhonda Keenan, President & CEO of Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development expressed her satisfaction with the event: “Helping small businesses better access funding and understand how to find and apply for it is vital. This forum served as an important platform to facilitate that understanding.”

The Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas thanks all participants and exhibitors for making the Peterborough & The Kawarthas Funding Forum 2023 an empowering and successful event.

About the Innovation Cluster 

Innovation Cluster Peterborough and the Kawarthas (ICPK) is a non-profit organization that supports entrepreneurs to launch, grow and scale their businesses. They help entrepreneurs reach their business goals so that our local community, job market, and economy continue to grow.

The ICPK supports startup businesses by providing dynamic programming, mentorship, workshops, and networking opportunities to entrepreneurs through three core programs.

STARTUP INCUBATOR – a full-service Startup Incubator Program

STARTup Visa Program Canada – an Immigrant Entrepreneurship Program

FastStart – Student Entrepreneurship Program

LAUNCH Kawartha –  a space for Innovation Cluster Incubation Programming located in Lindsey, Kawartha Lakes. For more information, visit

Core Funding is provided by The City of Peterborough, Trent University, Fleming College, The City of Kawartha Lakes, OMAFRA, Feddev Ontario, and Franklin Empire.

About Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development

Peterborough & the Kawarthas Economic Development is the lead regional economic development agency for the City and County of Peterborough. Working collaboratively with local stakeholders, we attract, retain and support businesses, investors, entrepreneurs and visitors in order to nurture growth opportunities and foster the continued development of a vibrant, prosperous community with quality and sustainable jobs throughout the region.

We promote and position Peterborough & the Kawarthas as a place to live, work, invest and visit. We also operate Peterborough & the Kawarthas Business Advisory Centre (one of the Government of Ontario’s 54 small business enterprise centres) and Peterborough & the Kawarthas Tourism (the official destination marketing organization for the Peterborough & the Kawarthas region). Visit to learn more!

Media Contact

Innovation Cluster

Nicole Stephenson, Interim CEO

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