Celebrating and supporting small business

As part of the annual Small Business Week, Strathcona County will host a conference kickoff breakfast on the third Monday of October. Photo Supplied

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Small Business Week is an initiative that the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) has been celebrating since 1979.

It began as an organized week of small business management training sessions for entrepreneurs. Forty years later, this tradition is still running strong across Canada. Every year, close to 10,000 entrepreneurs gather to learn, network and celebrate the people building businesses across the country. The theme for BDC Small Business Week 2019 is “Shining the spotlight on the changing face of entrepreneurship in Canada and the trailblazers behind the business.”

Annually, on the third Monday of October, Strathcona County hosts a conference kickoff breakfast in conjunction with the BDC Small Business Week. Speakers over the years have touched on timely issues for small businesses, such as building an online presence, understanding the funding landscape, digitizing your business, bulletproofing your brand, and making market research work.

This year will feature keynote Glenda Beagle, a marketing and mindset coach who will provide tangible takeaways to help businesses save time and money by marketing to the right customers. In line with the 2019 theme, the conference will also feature local entrepreneurs Karen Schenk, founder and CEO of Iconium Media and Michael Wharmby founder and owner of Innovative Mortgage Solutions. Both can be considered trailblazers in their respective fields and are eager to share insights from their entrepreneurial journeys.

Agencies and organizations that support small businesses will be on-site to provide information to help entrepreneurs with their business operation. For financing options, Community Futures Elk Island Region, Futurpreneur, and BDC will be available.  To assist with alternatives for hiring, EmployAbilities, Goodwill, Robinhood, and Winder Inclusive Communities Services (WICS) will be on hand. For assistance with procurement, Service Alberta Procurement Services, Government of Alberta Infrastructure, and Strathcona County Procurement Services will walk you through the process of gaining work from different levels of government. And lastly, for more general business development needs representatives from the Sherwood Park and District Chamber of Commerce, Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE), Statistics Canada, Business Link, and Strathcona County departments of Economic Development and Tourism, and Planning and Development Services will all be available.

In Strathcona County, we value small businesses and our commitment to their success is robust. In addition to the Small Business Week conference, the Economic Development team offers a number of programs and services to support businesses throughout the year.   

Be it assisting a small business owner with challenges, a catalyst for their growth; or perhaps providing them with relevant contacts through networking or concierge services, it’s likely that there is support available for any stage of a business’ lifecycle. The staff of Economic Development and Tourism encourages all Strathcona County businesses to reach out either by visiting us at our temporary offices at 160 Festival Way or we are always keen to visit you at your premises.

This column was written and provided by Strathcona County staff.