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“Part of [the discussion] was whether or not there can be additional training programs to assist people just on an educational basis … and whether there can be support from the government on loans or loan guarantees around that area so that these businesses can move to the next step.”
Beaumont Chamber of Commerce president Curtis Haley explained that the province’s current resources for business growth and organizations who support new and growing businesses usually focus on a small percentage of businesses, making it tough for some business owners to find their niche when seeking support or applying for government funding.
“It’s to help existing businesses grow and thrive and be able to go from, for example, a home-based business to a storefront,” Haley said. “There’s a lot of resources out there for start-ups, which is great, but at the same time we’re a little bit concerned with the resources, the tools that are available for existing businesses that are looking to grow.”
With a focus on providing resources for entrepreneurs launching their business or small businesses transitioning to a storefront, small businesses that are established and growing were identified as needing access to more education and information on government programming, Rutherford added.
“One of the broader topics – not just in Beaumont but for not-for-profits, municipalities, businesses – was a better system for navigating government programs,” he said. “Just wanting a better source of information so that they know what is available … the feedback that we keep getting will be utilized in trying to create a system where people know what grants are available, easier applications and make them more timely.”
The red tape reduction conversation is just beginning, he added, with more round table meetings with stakeholders being scheduled to reduce barriers and help businesses operate better in Alberta.
“That’s really the main purpose of hosting these round tables, is to share information so that the various stakeholders can come together and know where they need to invest their time and resources to make it easier to do business in Alberta,” Haley said.