Overview

Alberta small businesses contribute more GDP per capita than small businesses anywhere else in the country. In addition to providing good jobs in our hometowns and neighbourhoods, they inject about $100 billion a year into our economy.

With new government programs and proven service providers across the province, Alberta small businesses can access supports ranging from advice and coaching, financing and training, to market expansion and tax credits to help them start and grow their business.

Key government programs

A variety of government programs offer Alberta entrepreneurs and small businesses support for exporting to new markets, attracting investment and accessing training.

Program Start-up support Advice and coaching Tax credits Training Market expansion
Alberta Export Expansion Package No Yes No No Yes
Alberta Investor Tax Credit No No Yes No No
Canada-Alberta Job Grant No No No Yes No
Community Economic Development Corporation Tax Credit No No Yes No No
Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit No No Yes No No
Self-Employment Training Program Yes Yes No Yes No

Alberta Export Expansion Package

The Alberta Export Expansion Package includes 3 programs to prepare Alberta companies for success in the international market:

Alberta Investor Tax Credit

The Alberta Investor Tax Credit offers a 30% tax credit to investors who provide capital to Alberta small businesses doing:

  • research
  • development
  • commercialization of new technology, new products or new processes
  • interactive digital media development
  • video post-production
  • digital animation
  • tourism

Canada-Alberta Job Grant

The Canada-Alberta Job Grant is an employer-driven training program where employers and government share the cost of training new and existing employees to increase their knowledge and skills and meet the needs of Alberta’s changing economy.

Community Economic Development Corporation Tax Credit

The Community Economic Development Corporation (CEDC) Tax Credit supports Alberta investors and businesses that work together to advance rural economic development and social impact initiatives in their communities with a 30% tax credit for investors.

Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit

The Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit will support the growth and competitiveness of Alberta digital media companies by refunding 25% of the salaries, wages and bonuses they pay their Alberta employees who work directly to create interactive digital media products.

Self-Employment Training program

The Self-Employment Training program supports unemployed and marginally employed individuals who have a viable business idea and require additional training to become self-employed. The program is available in:

  • Calgary
  • Edmonton
  • Lethbridge
  • Medicine Hat
  • Red Deer
  • Other rural areas in central and southern Alberta

For more information on ministry-specific business supports, contact:

Regional supports

Alberta small businesses and entrepreneurs may have unique needs depending on where they are located in the province. That is where regional supports come in.

Regional incubators

The Alberta Entrepreneurship Incubator program is a two-year pilot project, delivered through Alberta Innovates, which funds regional entrepreneur development and support programs that focus on fostering business creativity and collaboration.

Rural Alberta Business Centres

Rural Alberta Business Centres (RABCs) provide advice and information on services for rural small businesses. RABC offices are located in:

  • Camrose
  • Cold Lake
  • Hanna
  • Rocky Mountain House

Alberta-wide service providers

We collaborate with a number of service providers that offer small businesses based in communities across the province with advice, services and support to help them navigate Alberta’s business environment.

Program Start-up support Advice and coaching Financing Training Market expansion
Alberta Innovates Yes Yes Yes Yes No
ATB Financial Yes Yes Yes No Yes
Alberta Women Entrepreneurs Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Business Development Bank of Canada No Yes Yes No Yes
Business Link Yes Yes No Yes Yes
Community Futures Yes Yes Yes Yes No
Futurpreneur Yes Yes Yes No No

Alberta Innovates

Alberta Innovates provides access to programs, funding, business supports and research facilities to accelerate entrepreneurship and technology-based innovation across the province.

ATB Financial

ATB Financial provides coaching and advice at Entrepreneurial Centres in:

  • Edmonton
  • Calgary
  • Grande Prairie
  • Lethbridge

ATB also offers traditional loans as well as non-traditional lending options.

Alberta Women Entrepreneurs

Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) provides tools, workshops, resources and loans to women entrepreneurs. AWE also delivers PeerSpark, a business accelerator program, and NextStep, a business plan learning series for Indigenous women.

Business Development Bank of Canada

The Business Development Bank of Canada supports small and medium-sized businesses through access to financing, advisory services and capital.

Business Link

Business Link helps small businesses start and expand anywhere in Alberta, provides one-on-one support, online business training and market research for business plans, and offers Indigenous, French and immigrant-focused services.

Community Futures

Community Futures has 27 locations across Alberta and provides small business support, including small business loans.

Futurpreneur

Futurpreneur offers mentorship and loans to entrepreneurs aged 18 to 39.

Small business statistics

Small businesses in Alberta:

  • employed 542,058 Albertans – about 36% of all private sector employment in 2017 (excluding public administration, health and education sectors)
  • generated 28% of Alberta’s GDP in 2017 – the fourth highest among all provinces
  • generated $26,020 of GDP per capita in 2016 – almost 50% higher than the national average of $17,400

In December 2017, there were:

  • 163,116 small businesses in Alberta – making up 95.7% of all businesses with employees
  • 38 small businesses for every 1,000 people in Alberta – third amongst the provinces (after PEI and BC) and ahead of the national average of 32

Contact

Talk to a small business advisor at Business Link to get free advice and referrals to business supports by submitting your question online, or contacting them directly:

Hours: 8:30 am to 4:30 pm (open Monday to Friday, closed statutory holidays)
Phone: 780-422-7705
Toll free: 1-800-272-9675 (Canada only)

This page is not an exhaustive list of all the small business supports available to Albertans. For additional resources, explore other supports for:

A summary of Alberta-wide small business supports is available for downloading and printing.