By Medicine Hat News on November 9, 2016.
Economic developers would all agree that between 80 to 90 per cent of job growth comes when an investment is made in existing businesses. Job growth is vital to our region, especially given the current economic climate.
Growing business is our main mission and it is the reason we continue to serve the local business community through a partnership of three. Community Futures Entre-Corp (CFEC), Medicine Hat College and Alberta Innovates Technology Futures, joined together to form the Regional Innovation Network (RIN) of southeast Alberta, called APEX.
CFEC, a partner in the APEX group, has been supporting small business and rural economic diversification since 1988. We provide a wide range of small business services, financing and resources for people wanting to start, expand, franchise or sell a business.
Our experience in this industry has proven that when an investment is made in existing business, the result is new job creation, business expansion and investment into a skilled workforce driving stability into our region â€” this is exactly what the APEX group is working to do.
APEX wants to be known as the information hub for business and to facilitate that vital connection to information, resources and government programs that an existing business needs to grow and expand.
My role is to coordinate this important activity; I facilitate meaningful connections with local business by visiting businesses and conducting a survey.
Business owners have asked me why they should participate in the survey and what’s in it for them. The answer: Feedback gathered from surveys helpsus identify business needs or challenges and once we identify these, we can then determine what programs or services are available to help a business. Each business survey takes about 20 minutes to complete.
Recent surveys uncovered that some business owners had limited time for training. This feedback helped us design future business training programs that were shorter and also included a lunch so that business owners could fit the business training programs into their schedule.We will continue to listen to the needs of business owners and will use survey feedback to develop and refine the programs to fit the needs of business owners in our region.
Elizabeth Blair is the regional innovation network (RIN) coordinator at Community Futures Entre-Corp. The Southeast Alberta RIN is a partnership between Community Futures Entre-Corp, Medicine Hat College and Alberta Innovates-Technology Futures. For more information about how our programs can help your business, please call Elizabeth at 403-528-2824.