- Pierrick Heudes has turned to crowdfunding to raise funds to save his downtown Moncton French pastry café after being denied yet another relief grant.
- When he first opened his café in 2019, business was booming, but the exodus of office workers from the downtown core has made it difficult to stay open.
Pierrick Heudes, frustrated by yet another relief grant he didn’t qualify for, has turned to crowdfund to raise funds to save his downtown Moncton French pastry café.
With a one-time deposit of $2,000, the province’s latest grant assists independent entrepreneurs like Heudes, who do not have any workers. His business produced less than $30,000 last year, so he isn’t eligible.
“I’m not sure what to think because, on the one hand, they’re attempting to assist small businesses like mine. All of the criteria they’re looking for, at the end of the day, aren’t helping anyone,” he said in an interview on Wednesday.
Even if he did qualify for the new grant, he said it wouldn’t help him much.
“It’s only two grand; that would only buy me another month,” he explained, adding that the crowdfunding campaign was a last resort.
The business was booming when he first opened his café in 2019, but the departure of office workers from the downtown core has made it difficult to stay open.
He claimed he was ineligible for any assistance programs and that the banks could not assist him.
A spokesperson for Opportunities NB said in a written statement to Global News on Thursday afternoon that the new grant was meant to complement other aid programs, citing federal programs like the Canada Worker Lockdown Benefit.
The $30,000-a-year threshold for the newest grant, according to John Wishart, CEO of Moncton’s Chamber of Commerce, has caused concern among other entrepreneurs in the Greater Moncton Area.
“We’ve reached a point in COVID-19’s trajectory where the government needs to help as many businesses as possible.” The nearer we get to the finish line, the more we’d hate to see some people fail because we didn’t consider a certain criterion or because the bar was set too high for them.”
He’s advocating for a more comprehensive, simplified approach that includes as many business owners as possible.
“Many of these programs require you to demonstrate a certain level of income in 2019 or 2020. “It’s extremely difficult to hit those revenue targets if you were brave enough to start a business during a pandemic,” Wishart said.
“Perhaps this is another way these programs aren’t as inclusive as they could be.”
The prospect of having to close breaks Heudes’ heart.
“I’ve already invested all of my time and money in my company, in my dream.”
Source: Global News
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