June 21st, 2018

Business Beat: Helping small business

By Medicine Hat News on September 13, 2017.

Supporting small business is what we do. Since 1988, Community Futures Entre-Corp has delivered programs and services to support entrepreneurial activity in our region.A thriving small business community that generates jobs and leads to growth and prosperity in the economy is a critical investment. According to Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada, small businesses employ 8.2 million individuals in Canada and represent 70.5 per cent of the total private labour force.

To ensure an excellent program we have gathered a team of professionals who blend industry knowledge and relevant business expertise with interpersonal skills, access to resources and networks, and a true passion to work with emerging entrepreneurs in the development of their business.Many of our staff have owned their own business, so they understand the importance of the business plan process and can relay firsthand knowledge and expertise to aspiring entrepreneurs who visit us for assistance.

Here are some of the services that we offer to entrepreneurs and business leaders in our region:

Starting out: If you have an idea and are looking for a place to discuss your idea and how you might be able to develop it, we have business support, resources and services that can help you turn your idea into a business. Our goal is to guide start-up companies by providing the space, advice, support and services to assist in their growth and development.

Business Planning and Development:We can provide you with resources to guide you through the business planning process and help you understand the importance of good business planning.

Access to Capital, Grants and Funding:We provide small business loans and can direct you to other available sources of funds.Grants are also available to small business who are looking to export or develop a technology.If you can access financing through other sources, we will guide you as you develop your financing plan.

Business Training:Each month we organize free monthly business development sessions designed for existing business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs in our region. This relevant training and education on interesting business topics will provide you with valuable information to help guide you through the entrepreneurial journey.We have a Self-Employment Training Program,an Alberta Labour initiative that Community Futures Entre-Corp has delivered collectively for 21 years.In this program we have trained and coached over 500 individuals who have started a business. This training includes extensive coaching and support, enabling entrepreneurs to grow their management and leadership skills, and preparing them for the realities of running a business.

Guidance with Innovative Ideas: We can support you with your innovative ideas with the Regional Innovation Network in Southeast Alberta, known as APEX.Community Futures Entre-Corp is a partner in the collaborative network called the “Regional Innovation Network” which includes Medicine Hat College and Alberta Innovates.The APEX team has the resources, knowledge, expertise and capacity to support your innovative ideas. The APEX partnership will introduce you to the programs offered by Alberta Innovates as well as our network of partners.We can assist you with all of the stages of the technology development life cycle.This includes intellectual property assessments, industry development, design, engineering, prototype development, product testing, research and even regulatory approval.

Access to innovative technology and engineering support: Businesses in Southeast Alberta can access 3D printing and scanning technology to improve their capacity to innovate and commercialize new products.You can find this technology at the Medicine Hat College.Each year, they offer workshops to the industry on the use of the 3D printer and scanner for prototyping. Their in-house engineer can also help guide users in new product development.

Contact us today to access support for your small business. Our team can be reached at 403-528-2824 between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Elizabeth Blair is the regional innovation network coordinator for APEX.APEX supports the growth of innovative and technologically-oriented businesses in Southeast Alberta. APEX is a collaborative initiative between three core service providers: Community Futures Entre-Corp, Medicine Hat College and Alberta Innovates.


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