Rural communities are playing a key role in the growth and diversification of Alberta’s economy. To keep the momentum going, Alberta’s government is providing $2.1 million in capacity building grants. The grants will advance regional and targeted initiatives that will lead to sustainable, rural economic development and diversification.

“Alberta’s government is doing what it takes to ensure rural communities remain a driving force in our economy. Grant recipients will deliver initiatives that strengthen economic development capacity and promote sustainable growth and diversification in our rural communities.”

Nate Horner, Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation

The Economic Development in Rural Alberta Plan has a strategic focus on rural economic capacity building. Grant recipients will turn this strategy into action by supporting businesses and municipalities with resources to enhance economic development opportunities in rural Alberta. Organizations that have received one-time funding to build capacity within their communities are:

  • Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies
    • $50,000 for the Rural Development Cluster Coaching Series that focuses on developing agri-tourism, creating rural partnerships and using regional approaches.
  • Alberta Women Entrepreneurs
    • $195,000 to expand the NextStep to Success program, which offers Indigenous women entrepreneurs with mentorship, business training and guidance on developing small business supports.
  • Alberta Municipalities
    • $150,000 to support their members in accessing grant programs for municipalities.
  • Economic Developers Alberta
    • $130,000 for education and skills training, mentoring and creating networks that share best practices.
  • Rural Municipalities of Alberta
    • $150,000 for a rural-focused economic development officer course and a micro-grant program to support members in determining economic development opportunities within a municipality or region.
  • Young Agrarians
    • $100,000 for an on-farm apprenticeship program to develop hands-on skills and knowledge to run a rural farm business.

Alberta’s government has also committed $125,000 to each of the nine Regional Economic Development Alliances to support long-term economic prosperity in their respective regions.

“The Regional Economic Development Alliances (REDAs) understand the economic challenges their regions face, as well as the opportunities that are possible. The grants will allow them to continue building and developing regional initiatives that spur economic growth and diversity. ”

Brian Jean, Minister of Jobs, Economy and Northern Development

In addition, $200,000 was allocated for the Public Library Grant for Skill Development in Rural Alberta. This one-time grant program will assist public library boards in smaller rural areas to strengthen their services and programs to support communities in becoming more resilient and sustainable.

"Public libraries serve as vital community hubs in small towns and mid-sized cities across Alberta. Libraries are about more than books, they're places for Albertans young and old to connect to the internet and the world, to build new skills and touch up their resumes, and for newcomers to discover the culture and benefits that our province has to offer. These investments are also a part of our rural development strategy."

Rebecca Schulz, Minister of Municipal Affairs

“We are grateful to the Government of Alberta for this support of entrepreneurship growth. This funding will expand our NextStep to Success program, offering increased access to capital, connections, and capacity to Indigenous women who are building businesses. Working together as a community, we can build a thriving, inclusive space for entrepreneurs in our province.”

Marcela Mandeville, CEO, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs

Quick facts

  • The Economic Development in Rural Alberta Plan was released on Dec. 14, 2022.
  • The plan spans five years and focuses on five key strategic directions:
    • Identifying and improving economic development-enabling infrastructure to support investment and growth in rural Alberta.
    • Advancing entrepreneurship capacity and a culture of innovation across rural Alberta.
    • Enabling skills development in rural communities to enhance workforce capacity today and for the future.
    • Enhancing rural Alberta’s reputation and capacity as a diverse tourism destination.
    • Enhancing rural economic development through regional and targeted capacity building.