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Fort Macleod chosen for new business centre

Fort Macleod is one of eight Alberta communities chosen for a business development centre pilot project.
The regional development branch of Alberta Finance 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.
“It’s a pretty exciting opportunity,” Fort Macleod Mayor Shawn Patience said.
Council reviewed at its meeting Sept. 12 the pilot program, which is to provide information and support services to small businesses in rural communities such as Fort Macleod.
Council agreed to partner with Alberta Enterprise and Finance, providing use of the building 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.
“It’s a nice little tri-partite agreement,” Patience said. “Those two things will work very well together in that building.”
In addition to providing $75,000 a year over three years, Alberta Entryist and Finance will provide $10,000 for start-up costs.
The proposal from Alberta Enterprise and Finance 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’ small business advisor will be charged with providing information and support to business growth.
Services offered include one-on-one business counselling and path-finding, educational offerings, and general information related to small business topics through one-on-one meetings, seminars, networking events, electronic and print.
Alberta Finance and Enterprise chose pilot project sites based on the lack of business information and support services in or near the host community.
Other factors in selecting sites included the capacity of the partner organization to support the project; support for the pilot from businesses and other stakeholders in the community; and the critical mass of small businesses in the community and surrounding area.
According to Alberta Finance and Enterprise, the program will offer a number of benefits to both the host communities and the province including:

  • Growth of vibrant business communities that create more local jobs and opportunities.
  • Strengthened supply chains for key sectors of Alberta’s economy through direct linkages to other government of Alberta programs and services for businesses.
  • Access to an ongoing source of information and insight about challenges and issues facing businesses in rural Alberta and enhanced responsiveness to small business needs.
  • Development of additional capacity for the host organizations to provide services to businesses in their region.
  • Greater recognition and understanding of the importance of small business to Alberta’s economy.

The pilot program will be officially announced in October during Small Business Week.
“It’s a good opportunity for the business community,” Patience said.

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COVID-19: UPDATES

People in Fort Macleod and district who have symptoms and think they may have COVID-19 should call Health Link at 811. If their symptoms match the criteria, Health Link will advise on their next steps regarding testing.

Most recent updates below.

  • There are 358 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Alberta, including one in Claresholm.
  • Since yesterday, 31 new cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Alberta, bringing the total to 226. Sixteen cases are suspected to be as a result of community transmission. The rest are travel-related.
  • Canada and the United States have an agreement that will restrict non-essential travel across the border, including for tourism and recreation. Canadian and American citizens and permanent residents who are currently visiting each other's country can still return home.
  • Forty-nine new cases of COVID-19 have been reported in Alberta, bringing the total Friday afternoon to 195. On a positive note, three people who contracted the virus have been identified as recovered.
  • Fort Macleod Fish and Game has cancelled its awards banquet set for Saturday, March 28.
  • The Empress Theatre in Fort Macleod is closed.
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