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Government invests in rural entrepreneurs

The Community and Regional Economic Support (CARES) program is providing funding to help small businesses in southeastern Alberta grow.

SAMDA Economic Partnership Ltd. will receive $32,800 through CARES to expand its small business incubator to support more entrepreneurs.

The new Rural Small Business Expansion Accelerator Program will connect 10 small business owners in several communities with expert advisors, access to funds and support in intensive planning for business growth.

Alberta small businesses with this type of support have an average 25 per cent growth rate while, nationally, the average growth rate is less than five per cent.

“Entrepreneurs are people who see opportunity where others might only see challenges. They put a lot on the line to start their own business and bring their new products and new ideas to market. That’s why we are providing them this support as we keep working together to grow and diversify our economy and to make life better for Albertans."

Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade

Advanced Education Minister Marlin Schmidt made the announcement in Oyen on behalf of Economic Development and Trade Minister Deron Bilous.

The SAMDA economic partnership represents 3,500 people in five communities: Special Area No. 3, MD of Acadia No. 34, Veteran, Empress and Oyen.

Oyen is the area’s main service centre. Most residents in the region are at least two hours from an urban centre, resulting in challenges for recruiting and retaining residents and attracting large-scale investment to the communities.

“When rural Alberta businesses do well, Alberta does well. By supporting initiatives they know will work best in their communities, we are working with them to grow and diversify local economies. The funding to SAMDA Economic Partnership’s business accelerator will equip them with the tools and mentorship they need to expand. I am excited to see what they will accomplish.”

Marlin Schmidt, Minister of Advanced Education

Following the first CARES application intake in 2016, the program evaluated 88 applications from regions and communities. In addition to the SAMDA Economic Partnership funding, five other successful projects worth approximately $330,000 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 www.jobsplan.alberta.ca.


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