About Us

About Us

Community Futures South Fraser (CFSF) is a not-for-profit Corporation funded by the Federal Government through Western Economic Diversification.

Our purpose and passion is to promote economic development and job creation through advisory services and capital investment in the Chilliwack and Abbotsford region.

We are one of 34 offices across the province and 266 across Canada that have been in existence for just over 25 years.

We also deliver a Self Employment Program in Chilliwack, Hope and Agassiz.

    What We Do

    We provide basic business advisory services including free one-on-one coaching conversations for small to medium-sized business owners in Chilliwack and Abbotsford. If you’re wanting to grow your business in a specific way, we have a specialist that can help.

    Learn more about our Advisory Services

    We provide business loans to early stage businesses and those businesses that are unable to meet the equity or experience requirements of other lenders. We also receive referrals from other financial institutions. We differ from BDC in that we use residential property as equity and we are willing to approve very small loans, i.e., less than $1,000.

    Learn more about our Business Loans

    We deliver the Self Employment Program in Chilliwack, Hope and Agassiz. The Self Employment Program is funded by the Provincial Government through Employment Insurance. Our services include one-on-one business development coaching and planning sessions along with workshops and information sessions.

    Learn more about our Self Employment Program

    In partnership with other local community members and agencies and through our Self Employment Program, workshops are designed to support businesses in all stages including startup, growth and expansion, as well as in succession planning.

    Learn more about our Business Workshops

    Board of Directors

    Community Futures organizations are independent non-profit societies, locally-run, and guided by volunteer boards.

    They actively support community-based economic development with a range of products and services aimed at creating diverse, sustainable rural communities.

    Community Futures South Fraser (CFSF) considers its volunteers one of the organization’s most important resources. Our Board of Directors consists of local business people who have extensive knowledge and experience of our local economy. Together with skilled staff, board and committee members guide the organization to its locally-created and community-driven goals.

    Our board members are individuals that aspire to contribute to the community in ways that reflect broadly held values, have a meaningful impact, draw on unique strengths as a corporation, and reinforce our community economic development objectives.

    Interested in becoming a board member?

    Applications for board member positions are continuously accepted. Please contact Nicole Read for more details.

    CURRENT BOARD OF DIRECTORS (click to view)

    The Board of Directors

    Present Board Directors Appointed Position
    Coombes, Brian 2018-06-19 Secretary
    Derbyshire, Brad 2017-09-19 Treasurer
    Dew, Gavin 2020-06-27 Director
    Janzen, Brent 2017-10-17 Director
    Larson, Meghan 2016-11-01 Chair
    Prasad, Shanal 2018-06-19 Director
    Saccomano, Steve 2018-01-16 Vice Chair

    The Board represents the region’s resident population, its priority economic sectors, and includes representation from the large, diverse geographic region.

    The Board of Directors Biographies:

    Meghan Larson, Chair (Abbotsford) Meghan is a highly accomplished Business Banking Advisor for Envision Financial and is the current Board Chair. Well known in her industry and across the region, Meghan has spent the last 8 years working in the Abbotsford area. With over 13 years of experience in the financial services industry, Meghan’s approach to serving her clients is inclusive and engaging. She is not only passionate about helping her members prosper – she wants her community to thrive as well. Meghan is a newlywed that enjoys hiking, volleyball and spending time with family and friends, especially in her beautiful community of Chilliwack.

    Steve Saccomano, Vice Chair (Chilliwack) Steve has a passion for the agriculture industry. He studied Ag. Finance and Farm Business Management as post secondary studies and has 29 years experience in the agriculture industry in BC; 17 years in the feed industry and 12 years in finance. Steve enjoys working with entrepreneurs and self-starters as they look to establish and grow their business. He has volunteered on many service organizations and committees as well as chaired fundraising events in the community. He enjoys the great outdoors, reading and golfing.

    Brad Derbyshire, Treasurer (Abbotsford) Brad received a degree in Business Administration from the University of the Fraser Valley, an economics minor and a communication certificate while sitting on the University Senate and working as a UFV supported learning group instructor. Currently, Brad is working as a designated accounting professional with MNP at the Abbotsford office. Brad has lived the majority of his life in Abbotsford and in his free time enjoys sports (mainly hockey and baseball) and spending time with his family.

    Brent Janzen, Director (Chilliwack) Brent is a Commercial Account Manager with Vancity. Brent has been employed in the Financial Services Industry for more than 23 years with most of this time spent working in the Chilliwack and Abbotsford areas. Brent is passionate about working with entrepreneurs and assisting them to become as successful as possible. Brent has volunteered his time in the community with various sports clubs and service organizations. Brent was born in Chilliwack and it is where he continues to live today with his family. Most of Brent’s free time is now taken up by watching his two sons participate in various sporting activities.

    Brian Coombes, Secretary (Chilliwack)  Brian is currently the President of the Chilliwack Economic Partners Corporation (CEPCO), the economic development organization for the City of Chilliwack.  He started his career in economic development with CEPCO in 1998 as the Director of Tourism and Business Development.  His passion for tourism marketing and product development enabled him to serve as the Executive Director for Tourism Chilliwack from 2006-2013. In December 2013, Brian returned to CEPCO when he was selected as the new President.  Working alongside a Board of Directors that reflects CEPCO’s public-private sector make-up, Brian leads a staff team responsible for implementing a range of successful programs and partnerships that have helped CEPCO attract and facilitate economic growth in the city of Chilliwack. As a long-time resident of Chilliwack, Brian is excited to help make the Fraser Valley a great place to live and work.

    Gavin Dew, Director (Abbotsford) Gavin is Chief Strategy Advisor to Abbotsford Tech District, a proposed mixed-use campus on Sumas Mountain that will be an education, innovation, and commercialization hub for Abbotsford’s powerhouse agriculture sector and strong aerospace cluster. Gavin is an experienced corporate strategist and public affairs professional with an MBA from Oxford and an entrepreneurial background. As an advisor to senior decision-makers in large companies and organizations, he has been involved with navigating some of the most complex and challenging commercial and political environments in Canada, with billions of dollars and thousands of jobs at stake. Outside of business, Gavin is a proud father to Abby, the cutest two-year old in the world.

    Shanal Prasad, Director (Chilliwack) Shanal is a Lawyer and the Principal of Alpine Legal Services. His practice areas include business, corporate, commercial, real estate, secured lending, and wills and estates law. Prior to his career in law, Shanal obtained his Bachelors of Business Administration majoring in Accounting from Kwantlen Polytechnic University, as well as his Chartered Professional Accountant designation (CPA, CMA). He then attended Thompson Rivers University where he obtained his Juris Doctor and subsequently worked as an Associate at a full-service law firm in the Fraser Valley. He has worked in a variety of industries in numerous roles and looks forward to leveraging his diverse set of skills and experiences as well as his passion for business to assist entrepreneurs in achieving their full potential. In his spare time, Shanal enjoys staying up to date with technology, traveling, reading, and spending time with family and friends.

    Community Futures Development Corporation of South Fraser

    Financial & Performance Reports

    Our Staff

    Our core staff are augmented by project staff or contractors on an as-needed basis.

    Nicole Read, General Manager, Community Futures South Fraser

    Nicole Read, General Manager – Nicole was raised on a dairy farm in the local community of Chilliwack and was a part of her parents’ family-owned retail dairy store since she was 7 years old. At 22 she managed her family’s retail sports store and at 25, Nicole started her first business in the hospitality industry doing sales and marketing for hotels in different markets throughout BC and Alberta.

    Other entrepreneurial adventures included contract work for employment programs, on-line vacation home rentals, restaurant owner of an upper casual steakhouse, and a temporary to permanent employment staffing agency.  Nicole has worked closely with Community Futures South Fraser for over 6 years as a service provider to GT Hiring Solutions whom Nicole was the Service Delivery Manager of the Lower Mainland contract.  Nicole is very passionate about building community as well as helping entrepreneurs grow and develop their business.

    Nicole is deeply rooted to the Rotary Club of Chilliwack and the Ann Davis Society in Chilliwack allowing her to give back to the community that has given her so many opportunities.

    Click to Email

    Teresa Pippus, Self Employment Manager, Community Futures South Fraser

    Teresa PippusSelf-Employment Program Manager – Teresa has trained and coached entrepreneurs for more than 20 years and has assisted over 1000 people to start their own small or micro-businesses.

    After owning 4 successful hospitality industry businesses and creating and delivering employee/customer retention workshops for over 15 years she realizes one important principle – happiness is profitable. She is known as a customer service and marketing guru and has a passion and intuition for helping people move forward.

    Teresa is a sought after speaker and workshop leader for amazing, authentic, and adventurous customer service. She lives in beautiful Fort Langley with her daughter Arden.

    Click to Email

    Annette Burrows, Vocational Rehab Consultant, Community Futures South Fraser

    Annette Borrows, Vocational Rehab Consultant – Annette has been serving people with disabilities towards employment since 1998.

    Working with several funding agencies such as Fraser Health, Ministry of Social Development and Social Innovation, Service Canada, Neil Squire and CLBC has given Annette a wide variety of experiences in assisting people towards recovery and breaking down barriers that people with disabilities face in the workforce. Annette also teaches the Supported Employment Series through Douglas College and the Okanagan University College, a curriculum that she developed from her experiences.

    Annette also serves on several boards such as the Focus Disability Network Society, Canadian Association for Supported Employment, the Creative Centre Society, and the Rotary at Work project.

    Click to Email

    Tonya Taylor
    Tonya Taylor, Business Analyst – Tonya has been in the financial services industry for over 20 years. Recently leaving her career as a Senior Commercial Banking Advisor with a local credit union to start her own business in the mortgage industry. Tonya is well known in her industry and brings a wealth of knowledge to her contract position with Community Futures South Fraser.

    Tonya is passionate about working with entrepreneurs and helping them grow their business. Tonya is actively involved in the Chilliwack Community. She sits on the board of The Chilliwack Community Arts Council, delivers soup with the Bowls of Hope and is part of the Rotary Club of Chilliwack Mt. Cheam.

    Tonya, her husband and two children live on a 5-acre tree farm in Rosedale. She enjoys camping, hiking, and spending time with family and friends.

    Click to Email

    Sharon Unger, Director of First Impressions & Office Admin, Community Futures South Fraser

    Sharon Unger, Director of First Impressions & Office Admin. Sharon’s joy is to see and help individuals move forward in their lives and businesses.

    She lives in Abbotsford with her entrepreneurial husband who has served Abbotsford for over 30 years as a custom millworker. She has three grown beautiful daughters. She enjoys business/leisure walks and yoga.

    Come into the office and she’ll be sure to offer you a coffee or tea and, if you make it at just the right time, a Matcha with almond milk!

    Click to Email

    Bob Hahn, CPA, CMA, Business Analyst – Bob brings a wealth of business and technical experience to Community Futures South Fraser. Bob was previously the General Manager of a manufacturing company in the concrete industry and Senior Geophysicist/ Group Leader with resource companies in the energy sector. At CFSF, Bob has worked in the roles of Office Manager, Operations and Finance Manager, and mostly recently Business Analyst. Bob maintains our Loans Portfolio, Human Resources, and Western Economic Diversification (WD) reporting. A recent achievement for Bob was his CPA, CMA designation. Bob’s joy in life is his family including eight wonderful grandchildren. Hobbies include speedcubing, guitar, and piano. Favorite saying – measure twice, cut once.