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Advisory committee set for new business centre

The former visitor information centre will house the new rural business centre in Fort Macleod.

The search is under way for a small business adviser to staff a new business centre in Fort Macleod.
Town council last week approved terms of reference for an advisory committee and appointed its members.
The next task is to hire someone to staff the office, which will be set up in the former visitor information centre on the east end of Main Street.
“The person will very much be required to be independent and self-motivated,” Mayor Shawn Patience said.
Coun. Sharan Randle is town council’s representative on the advisory committee.
Henk Vanee was appointed to represent the Fort Macleod Economic Development Commission, and Brian Nelson was named the Chamber of Commerce representative.
Council also approved the appointment Nov. 28 of Scott Norlin as the public member.
Linda Erickson will represent Alberta Treasury Board and Enterprise and Karen Donahue will represent the provincial government’s Human Services department.
The advisory committee will provide input and strategic direction for the business centre. It will not oversee day-to-day operations.
The regional development branch of Alberta Treasury Board and Enterprise will provide $225,000 over three years to hire a small business advisor who will work out of the former visitor information centre.
The pilot program is intended to provide information and support services to small businesses in rural communities such as Fort Macleod.
Council agreed to partner with Alberta Treasury Board and Enterprise, providing use of the former visitor information centre on Main Street and taking care of its upkeep and the grounds.
The Fort Macleod Chamber of Commerce will set up an office in the building, and will pay utilities.
In addition to providing $75,000 a year over three years, Alberta Treasury Board and Enterprise will provide $10,000 for start-up costs.
The proposal from Alberta Treasury Board and Enterprise is for the business centre to serve entrepreneurs, business owners and managers at all stages of the business cycle from the idea and start-up stage through to the expansion phase, including succession planning.
The centre’s small business advisor will be charged with providing information and support to business growth.
Services offered include one-on-one business counselling and pathfinding, educational offerings, and general information related to small business topics through one-on-one meetings, seminars, networking events, electronic and print.
The small business advisor is charged with:

  1. Fostering development of small business and entrepreneurship in Fort Macleod.
  2. Holding seminars, meetings, workshops and networking opportunities for rural entrepreneurs and small business owners to foster business development and growth.
  3. Providing one-on-one information and advisory services to small businesses, and maintain ongoing relationships.
  4. Providing input to Treasury Board and Enterprise and The Business Link on specialized resources required in Fort Macleod to take advantage of opportunities or address local challenges.
  5. Developing and maintaining relationships with stakeholders such as the EDC, business groups, industry leaders, municipal officials and community groups to minimize duplication of services and ensure more ongoing dialogue.
  6. Maintaining accurate records of clients and services accessed and provide reports.
  7. Maintaining an active presence in the business community.
  8. Marketing the services of the business centre.

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