Manitoulin Island-based aquaculturalist Mike Meeker has been recognized by the Community Futures Network of Canada as an Ontario entrepreneur.
The Network is currently celebrating 25 years of supporting Northern entrepreneurs, and Meeker, whose Meeker's Aquaculture business is established on Lake Wolsey on the west end of Manitoulin Island, is being touted as a success story.
Meeker, who started his operation in 1986, received a startup loan from the LaCloche-Manitoulin Business Assistance Corporation (LAMBAC) and has since established a successful fish farming operation.
The farm processes 900,000 pounds of rainbow trout annually, and Meeker's Magic Mix—a compost of fish waste and sawdust waste from local sawmills—has emerged as a flourishing spinoff business.
Meeker is featured alongside other Canadian entrepreneurs in a celebratory 25th anniversary video posted on YouTube.
“Community Futures is the largest, most well-established national community economic development movement in Canada,” David Harris, Community Futures chair, said in a news release. “Community Futures organizations continue to be the driving force for economic growth and renewal by supporting local economic development. They assist in the creation of diverse, competitive, local economies in rural communities across Canada.”
Since their inception, Community Futures organizations have assisted 106,000 clients, injected more than $3.6 billion into the rural Canadian economy, and have helped in the creation of 450,000 jobs.
Community Futures organizations offer loans to new and existing businesses and social enterprises, provide free business information and counselling as well as entrepreneurial training, offer support for community economic development projects, and assist with strategic economic planning.