The Government of Canada, in collaboration with funding participants, is helping to enhance the business productivity and competitiveness of small- and medium-sized businesses in northern Alberta.
The Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification, announced a federal investment of $500,000 towards the Mobile Business Incubator (MBI) today, an initiative that will create economic opportunities for rural entrepreneurs by connecting them to a wide range of business resources and services. In addition to federal funding, the Province of Alberta is investing $500,000 towards the project, while industry participants, ConocoPhillips Canada and Statoil, are contributing a total of $500,000.
Today’s investment provides rural communities with access to the skills and resources they require to help drive our economy forward, said Minister Yelich.
Our Government will continue to create the conditions for rural entrepreneurs to contribute, innovate and succeed, by laying the foundation for long-term economic growth.
Federal funding, provided through Western Economic Diversification Canada, will enable The Business Link to convert three mobile trailers into a portable business support centre. The business incubator will provide services such as business development, training and consulting expertise, as well as high speed Internet access, office space rental, web-conferencing services, meeting rooms, and referrals to service professionals.
There is a lot of entrepreneurial spirit in rural Alberta and this project will help owners get their businesses off the ground, said Thomas Lukaszuk, Minister of Alberta Employment and Immigration.
I am very pleased that this project will enable better access to services for our northern communities.
Contingent on market demand, growth and opportunity, the MBI will relocate along the Highway 881 Corridor between Fort McMurray and Lac La Biche. Small-medium sized businesses will be provided access to training, knowledge and expertise in an economical and affordable manner.
Our role as Alberta’s Canada Business service centre is to help entrepreneurs start and grow their business, said Cathy Goulet, executive director of The Business Link.
The MBI initiative allows us to reach more businesses in rural communities and address their business information needs.
This project also brings together two oil and gas production companies, ConocoPhillips Canada and Statoil. Their involvement and expertise in the project will help strengthen the MBI’s presence in northern Alberta.
ConocoPhillips Canada has a commitment to hire, buy and build locally, which results in local and regional benefits associated with all our oil sands developments, said Lloyd Visser, vice president of environment and sustainable development for ConocoPhillips Canada.
We’d like to see the creation of many competitive regional companies and the development of long-term commercial relationships with multiple industries.
Beyond the services offered through the MBI, The Business Link will continue to work collaboratively with industry stakeholders, companies, and local communities to ensure that the business incubator is strategically positioned to help rural entrepreneurs generate new business ventures and opportunities.
This initiative demonstrates innovation bringing together industry partners and government in support of economic development in our communities, said Lars Christian Bacher, President of Statoil Canada.
Western Economic Diversification Canada works with the provinces, industry associations and communities to promote the development and diversification of the western economy, coordinates federal economic activities in the West and advances the interests of western Canadians in national decision making.