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Community Futures opens in Fort Macleod

The new Community Futures Alberta Southwest office at 436 24th St., Fort Macleod. A grand opening is planned for 12 noon to 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22.

The new Community Futures Alberta Southwest office at 436 24th St., Fort Macleod. A grand opening is planned for 12 noon to 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22.

From left: Community Futures Alberta Southwest general manager Tony Walker, business analyst Kirk Clements and community economic development co-ordinator Tammy Morrison.

From left: Community Futures Alberta Southwest general manager Tony Walker, business analyst Kirk Clements and community economic development co-ordinator Tammy Morrison.

An organization devoted to helping entrepreneurs succeed has set up shop on Fort Macleod’s historic Main Street.
The grand opening of Community Futures Alberta Southwest’s new office at 436 24th St. is 12 noon to 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22.
Community Futures relocated last fall after marking a quarter of a century in Pincher Creek.
The move developed out of conversations the board and staff had about finding a new location for the office, from its space upstairs in the former RCMP detachment on Pincher Creek’s main street.
When inquiries failed to turn up an affordable place to rent, that led to the plan to buy property and establish a permanent home.
General manager Tony Walker found what he was looking for in Fort Macleod.
“Fort Macleod is very central to the territory,” Walker said of the area served by Community Futures, which extends south to Cardston and north to Claresholm. “We’re moving from one edge of our territory right into the middle.”
“I think that was the deciding factor. From here, we’re no more than 35 minutes to any of our communities.”
Walker said buying property in Fort Macleod has secured the future of the organization.
“I think we are set here for another 25 or 50 years,” Walker said.
Community Futures is an organization funded by the federal government with a mandate for business and community economic development in rural Alberta.
Walker noted that last year the 27 Community Futures offices in Alberta made more than 500 loans totalling $26-million, leveraging another $25-million to help create close to 1,600 jobs.
Since Community Futures was established in 1982 as part of a Mulroney government initiative, it has helped more than 114,000 entrepreneurs and invested more than $3.9-billion into the rural economy across Canada.
“We have a proven track record that shows our business clients grow faster and last longer than businesses started with other traditional source funding,” Walker said. “I think that comes down to the hands-on approach that we take.”
The Community Futures staff includes Walker as general manager, Kirk Clements as business analyst and Tammy Morrison as community economic development co-ordinator.
The board of directors includes chairman Lloyd Kearl, vice-chairman Bill Hart, treasurer Dave Edmonds and directors Bev Garbutt, Igor Grujic and Mike McAlonan.
Community Futures provides business start-up and expansion loans up to $150,000, and will help the entrepreneur write a business plan. There are loan programs for young people and people with disabilities.
Community Futures generally funds businesses that cannot secure traditional funding.
In addition, Community Futures provides business counselling and training; strategic planning and market research; and financial projections.
Community Futures has resources and a library that offers business and community profiles, reference books, videos and Internet access; and video conference training.
There is a self-employment program that includes business plan development, start-up coaching and training and financial support during start-up.
Community Futures hosts the Alberta Youth Entrepreneurship Camp for young people aged 13 to 15 years every summer in the Cypress Hills.
Walker and his staff invite people to the grand opening on Jan. 22 to see the new office and sample the services Community Futures offers.
Sample training presentations of about 20 minutes in duration begin at 12:30 p.m. Topics include starting a business; financing a business; on-line marketing and updating your ongoing business plan.
Staff and board members will be at the office to socialize with guests. Refreshments will be served.

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