A message from Lance DeCaire, chair of the Parry Sound Muskoka Community Network:
For the past 22 years it has been our honour and privilege to work with FedNor, the federal agency charged with supporting businesses in Northern Ontario. Over the years we have distributed more than $10 million in government programs to 800 local businesses and organizations in the Parry Sound and Muskoka area, helping them to adopt digital technology. On Dec 31, 2022 our current funding agreement ends and we will be ceasing operations.
In the early days we were involved with building new broadband capacity, including bringing internet to the Parry Sound Airport. We were able to fund free wifi projects in downtown; Huntsville, Parry Sound, Gravenhurst and Bracebridge. We also played a role in identifying locations without internet to have infrastructure installed.
One of our mandates was to increase digital technology education and to that end we have supported robotics and 3D printing programs in the local high schools with amazing results. The level of technical expertise demonstrated by our high school students is truly astounding. Some of our students have gone on to work at cutting edge companies including Tesla.
New businesses can often benefit the most from funding and expertise. To that end we helped found the Muskoka Founders Circle and later the Parry Sound Area Founders Circle. Founders Circle is a group of local business people who donate their expertise and put up their own money to fund an annual prize of up to $15,000 for the best new business in their respective region. Sheertex was one of the first start-ups to win the Muskoka Founders Circle award. They have gone from a small start-up to having over 200 employees. This year’s award gala is on Nov 10th at the JW Marriot and some tickets are still available.
As Chair I want to thank all of our partners, suppliers, volunteers and related organizations for all of their efforts that were critical to our success. Thank you to everyone who has ever volunteered to sit on the Board of Directors. Your tireless work has shaped the organization into what it is today. Our Executive Director, Stuart Morley has gone above and beyond to become the “face” of PMCN. Thank you to FedNor for their financial support without which none of this would have been possible, and to wish them success as they transition to new funding models. Most of all I want to thank the Businesses, the Students and everyone else that we have been able to support in the past 22 years. You are the ones who made it all worthwhile.
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