Friday, March 24, 2017

Alberta government announces new tools and training for rural businesses

Government of Alberta - Small businesses and aspiring entrepreneurs in rural Alberta will have new support to start and grow their businesses through the Community and Regional Economic Support (CARES) program.  To help entrepreneurs turn their ideas for new products or services into a business, Community Futures Network of Alberta will receive $109,887 to support their What If project.

The funding will help add new components to training workshops and video segments focusing on new business communications strategies. Funds will also go towards improving the BizStream program which provides information and mentoring to rural Alberta businesses.

To help increase spending at local retailers, particularly smaller, owner-operated businesses, the Town of Cochrane has also been approved for $16,534 in funding to support the Cochrane Community Dollar project.

The local currency project involves printing “Cochrane Dollars” of various denominations with an array of security features which will be accepted by local retailers and act as a marketing tool for the community. The initiative is a partnership between Cochrane, ATB Financial and the Cochrane Monetary Foundation.

“Entrepreneurs see opportunity where others might only see challenges and they work hard to give back to their hometowns and neighbourhoods. When rural Alberta businesses do well, Alberta does well. That’s why we are listening to their ideas and supporting initiatives they know will work best in their communities. Together, we are making lives better for Alberta families.” - Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade
“Community Futures provides business loans and training across rural Alberta. Our What If project is designed to expand Alberta entrepreneurs’ access to business loans, training and coaching that would not have been possible without this support. We believe that in this era of technological change, opportunities abound and the possibilities for Alberta small businesses are limitless. All you have to do is ask What If?” - Tony Stolz, Executive Director, Community Futures Network of Alberta

Following the first CARES application intake in 2016, the program evaluated 88 applications from regions and communities. In addition to the Cochrane funding, six other successful projects representing approximately $360,000 have been announced.

These projects are among many throughout the province slated for funding support through the first intake of the CARES program. Successful projects in other regions will be announced soon.

The second intake for the CARES program will run from April 1, 2017 to May 31, 2017. Eligibility criteria and more information on how to apply are available at

Related information:
CARES program
Community Futures Network of Alberta
Town of Cochrane
Alberta Jobs Plan

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