August 2009 - Issue 87
one idea at a time
For over 20 years, Alberta's 27 Community Futures offices
have nurtured rural diversification by working with communities,
entrepreneurs and businesses that want to grow and evolve.
Our goal is to help build communities that have long-term
sustainability, resiliency in the face of change, and a broad
economic base with a variety of types of businesses and jobs.
Our Rural Diversification Initiative (RDI) provides funds
for Community Futures organizations to work in partnership
with community leaders and the private sector on rural diversification
projects that provide measurable economic benefits to rural
communities and/or industries. Any organization interested
in making an application for RDI funding must do so through
their local Community Futures organization. Go to www.ruraldiversification.com
for more details.
Community Futures also offers new and improved financing
options designed to help clients start, expand, relocate or
buy a business in a rural community. These include short-term
loans, flexible lines of credit, and special loans for young
entrepreneurs and persons with a disability wanting to start
a business. Applying is fast and easy, and loans are flexible
and affordable. For more information, go to www.roadahead.biz
To complement our loans program, and to help ensure that
clients have the best possible chance of success, we provide
a range of business counselling services. CF organizations
may offer group workshops and one-on-one sessions on topics
such as writing a business plan, market research, strategic
planning and financial projections, and many CF offices connect
clients with mentors from the local business community.
To find the CF office nearest you, go to http://cfna.ca/cfna/public/
FPR International was registered in Alberta in January
2006. The owner, Alla Ternikova, came with her husband
and two small children to Canada from the Soviet Union
20 years ago.
In the early years she was busy caring for her family
while her husband, a highly skilled carpenter, started
his successful business in building kiosks for malls.
With the children grown and more time available to
her, Alla decided to start a business. Where to begin?
Wisely, she decided to get assistance from people who
knew how to start and operate a business. While studying
at Microbusiness Training Center, she was introduced
to The Business Link where she found Business
Officers and Library Staff helpful and encouraging.
She spent many days in the library doing research and
preparing her business plan along with attending seminars.
Her original idea was to start a business assisting
newcomers to Canada connect with the many services available
to them. However, she was advised that she would not
be able to make a living from such an enterprise.
So, Alla began with a temporary employment agency.
She developed a large network of contacts with employers
and the social agencies that she had learned about as
a newcomer to Canada herself.
Increasingly she received phone calls from people planning
to move to Canada. She started to specialize in services
for them, providing contacts for basic and social needs
along with job leads, employer contacts and assistance
with resumes. With the introduction of the Temporary
Foreign Workers program, Alla's business became very
One success story she likes to relate is that of a
gentleman from Toronto who was looking for a job as
a Class 3 driver. After he arrived in Alberta, Alla
discovered that he was an expert in martial arts and
had been one of the leading trainers for a Soviet Union
Martial Arts Olympic team.
She rewrote his resume and took him to meet the owner
of a martial arts school. There he signed a long-term
contract to train the trainers at the school-his dream
Alla recommends that entrepreneurs keep an open mind
and look for business opportunities.
Recently, she successfully introduced Alberta to a
large-scale international import-export entrepreneur
and convinced him of the advantages of working with
small and medium-sized enterprises in Alberta. As a
result, her company has expanded to include an import-export
Alla believes Alberta provides the best opportunities
for business success and a good life.
All year round, many people participate in a wide variety
of sports and other forms of personal recreation. This
creates a big market for products and services--softballs
to snowshoes, golf lessons to gliders; folks need what
it takes to have fun and keep fit.
Do you need to do business research in the sport and
recreation industry sector? In addition to information
found in libraries such as The Business Link
Library and the Alberta Government Library at Commerce
Place, there are statistics, industry reports, trade
publications, and links to relevant industry associations
and government departments to be found online. Here
are useful sources for Canadian sport and recreation
Alberta Tourism, Parks and Recreation:
Recreation and Sport page:
Here, you'll find the Alberta
Recreation Survey (2008) (Information for all of
Alberta, Edmonton, and Calgary)
of Alberta associations for sport and recreation,
organized by type of activity. Other information: programs
and grants for sport/recreation programs, facilities,
Fitness and Lifestyle Research Institute:
Periodic reports with statistics are available in the
Physical Activity Monitor and Sport Monitor.
Sport Information Resource
Centre (SIRC) is located in Ottawa and has the world's
largest database for sport and recreation information.
of information and services available:
Membership access is free for 24 hour introduction;
Canada (part of Department of Canadian Heritage):
List of Canadian sport organizations, by type of sport
or activity; provincial government departments for sport
and recreation; Canadian Sport Centres; federal government
funding for sport; major sport events in Canada.
Industry Canada provides a free online directory of
some Canadian businesses in the recreation
and sport sector, not including amusement parks.
Information Network database:
Choose from right-hand list of Topics: Sports &
Activities; select sport from list. Or select Recreation
& Leisure for topic. And/or choose a Population
Group from left-hand list. Click Search at bottom
(page may be slow). See also: Links section.
How would your organization, association or industry
like to reach over 11,000 subscribers within Alberta
and beyond through an upcoming Issue of E-News!
from The Business Link?
This and other unique opportunities exist for
your organization to be showcased within a number
of The Business Link's associated
products and services, providing you with valuable
profile within Alberta's small business community.
To explore the options available for a strategic
relationship with The Business Link,
please contact Jim Ewing, Business Development
Officer at 780 422-7768 or email Jim.Ewing@canadabusiness.
pour accéder, ou vous abonner à
ce bulletin électronique en français.
With more events planned this year than ever for our
Fall season, we invite you to participate in training
that will assist you in starting and operating your
In collaboration with novaNAIT, our Innovation series
will continue. Topics covered include evaluating the
commercial potential of an idea, business valuation
and the contribution business incubators can make to
New is the Immigrant Entrepreneur Series for newcomers
to Canada. This series has been developed with the support
of Alberta Employment and Immigration.
Another new topic is Diversity Training with two sessions--the
first for employers of immigrant employees and the second
for service providers with immigrant entrepreneur clients.
In addition to these topics, new information sessions
are scheduled for International Trade and Aboriginal
For our agri-business clients, we continue with the
Agriculture Info Series offered in conjunction with
We invite you to join us for these "quick-to-learn,
quick-to-use" business training sessions.
If you are a business professional and are interested
in volunteering a couple of hours per season in our
Edmonton or Calgary office locations, we may have an
opportunity for you! Immediate openings are available
in our Guest Advisor Program for accounting and legal
professionals, particularly in our Calgary office.
PLUS - if you are comfortable communicating in languages
other than English and/or French, we also have openings
for a wide variety of business professionals willing
to assist immigrants interested in starting a business
Please contact: Jim Ewing, 780 422-7768 or Nilofer
Saadat, 780 422-7776 in Edmonton or Katarina Vasiljevic-Galic
in Calgary at 403-221-7810.
Our exciting new line-up of Seminars and Brown Bag
Presentations for this Fall begins on September 1.
We have included the first week of events for September
in this August issue of E-News so you can plan
ahead to include a session in your schedule.
To see the entire schedule, click here.
All sessions are held at The Business Link in Edmonton and Calgary unless otherwise noted. However,
through the Entrepreneurship Learning Centre (ELC)
Network, many of these sessions will be available
across Alberta via video conferencing. Visit www.elcnetwork.ca to find a participating site near you.
Pre-registration for seminars is required, and payment
must be made in advance in order to secure registration.
If you are interested in attending a session via
video conference at a location other than The
Business Link in Edmonton or Calgary, please
call that location prior to the session to check availability
and to register.
The Business Link's Monthly
Networking Event will be held in Edmonton and Calgary
on Tuesday, August 18, 2009 from 2:00 p.m.
to 4:00 p.m. Meet prospective clients and trade
business cards and information with other entrepreneurs.
To join us for this event, you can drop into either
250-639 5 Avenue SW
100-10237 104 Street NW
For more information about this FREE event,
contact Jean-Jacques Mitakaro in Edmonton at
email@example.com or Alvaro
Carvajal in Calgary at firstname.lastname@example.org.
16th Annual Fresh Air Market
August 2, 2009
Dunvegan Provincial Park
For information call 780 835-7150 or email
Brunch at the Beach
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Visitors will enjoy local foods while taking in
the calming scenery at Gull Lake. For tickets
and more information, please contact Catherine
Ward at 403 755-6935
August 10-15, 2009
Buffalo Adventures is running all summer (May
thru August, 2009). While the availability of
individual adventures may vary, the majority of
adventures will be available on the above prime
weeks. For more information, please visit http://www.buffaloalberta.ca
Summer Time Country Drive - August 1-2, 2009
Harvest Country Drive - October 10-11, 2009
For more information, please visit:
Dames on the Range
Partnership Learning and Enrichment Tour - August
backcountry overnight 3 - 4 day tour
For more information, please visit: www.damesontherange.com
August 6, 2009
Vegreville Social Centre
For more information, please visit: http://www.kalynacountry.com/Dine-Kalyna
Donald Cooper Boot Camp
September 21, 2009
Grande Prairie, AB
Management guru Donald Cooper will lead the process
to help you create greater focus and commitment
across your organization. The process requires
integrity, self-awareness, the courage to face
reality, the optimism to see an extraordinary
future and the commitment to create that future.
For information contact Tatiana.email@example.com
Flavours of the Foothills
Flavours Harvest Festival - August 22, 2009
Get Outta Town Bus Tours!
To receive updated information as it becomes available,
send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org,
or call 1 877 320-3898 ext. 1 expressing your
Intellectual Property Services Workshop
Each month intellectual property lawyer, Doug
Thompson, will be in Grande Prairie to answer
your intellectual property questions. For further
information and the next available appointment
date contact Jenn Vos at the CRI, 1 780 539-2807.
Summer Rendezvous - August 16, 2009
Thinking of starting a business? Not sure what
the right business for you may be? Aboriginal
Business Development Services (ABDS) has the resources
and information to help you determine the right
In deciding what business to start, it is important
to do your homework. Start by making a list of
your knowledge and experience. Many successful
businesses owe their success to entrepreneurs
who know the business before they start. Doing
something you are passionate about and know well
will increase your chance for success.
Current trends may also play a factor in identifying
a viable business venture. One of the fastest
growing industries in Alberta is Aboriginal tourism.
The industry is expected to generate a forecasted
1.9 billion for the Canadian economy by the year
2010. Aboriginal tourism provides products and
services that reflect the traditions and values
of Aboriginal people. Operations range from a
community cultural centre to an individual start-up,
such as an artist or storyteller.
Whether you set your sights on operating a tourism
business or a business in another industry sector,
make ABDS your first stop. Find out how we can
help you start or grow your business by calling
us at 1 800 272-9675. Be sure to join us at noon
on Thursday, September 17 for the free Brown Bag
presentation "Aboriginal Business Development
Services and You" available throughout the
province via video-conferencing.
Online social networking is here to stay but
does the buzz around blogging, Facebook, Twitter,
YouTube and other online communities really matter
to your agri-business? Absolutely.
This modern marketing tool is all about making
connections and using the power of the Internet
to launch, sell, improve and profile your product
or service. Whether you are a vendor at an Alberta
Approved Farmers' Market, an ag-tourism operator,
food processor, organic beef producer or greenhouse
grower the vast world of social networking can
be a powerful marketing tool for your agri-business.
Online social networking offers a convenient way
to exchange information with countless numbers
of current and potential customers. This may be
why it is one the most popular marketing tools
for small businesses, that, and it is free!
If you are thinking about harnessing the power
of social networking for your agri-business here
a few tips to help you get started:
1. Start with one site. Explore various social
networking sites and choose one that will best
reach your target customers. Find out who's talking
2. Prepare your site before you promote it. You
only get one chance to make a first impression
so make sure that your site is informative, timely
and visually appealing. Take pride in your virtual
3. Invite current customers to join your site.
Send virtual invites to your current customers
and encourage them to invite their friends. The
'domino effect' will take care of the rest!
4. Update your site regularly. Give your customers
something new to discover such as product specials,
photos, recipes and links. Keep them coming back
5. Use your site to test the water. Post new
business ideas on your discussion board and get
instant feedback. Back to the drawing board or
off to the races!
There is a huge opportunity for agri-businesses
to get connected and farm the online community.
To learn more about online social networking and
your agri-business call 310-FARM (3276) and ask
for a New Venture Specialist.
Be sure to check out The Business Link's
Agriculture Info Series Brown Bag presentations;
this series and this article are brought to you
by Growing Forward, a federal-provincial-territorial
For entrepreneurs, the summer months
are often times of mixed emotions. On
one hand, reduced customer traffic allows
time for business planning and organizing.
On the other hand, it can be a time of
worry and frustration if a small business
owner chooses to take a vacation.
The dilemma is always "Who will
run the business if I am away?" This
is even truer for those self-employed,
than those who have staff to call upon
There are a number of things that you
can do to prepare yourself for a vacation.
The following points will assist you with
the transition for while you are away:
- Find someone responsible to temporarily
fill your role, take charge, and manage
- Inform your current clients that you
will be away, for how long, and who they
can contact in your absence
- Have proper workplace training in place
- Anticipate and communicate any potential
problems that may occur when you are away
- Collect from overdue accounts and pay
any invoices that may be due
- Ensure your operations are stream-lined
Taking time off during the summer is
an important aspect of leading a healthy
and balanced life. In particular it helps
prevent burn-out, revitalizes your mind
and body, and gives you a chance to reconnect
with yourself and others. By following
the above steps, you can ensure that you
enjoy the vacation you deserve!
Perhaps it's too early to say it, but the Alberta
small business owner may want to look at how Albertans
will spend income when the recession breaks.
Some economic forecasts are showing that by mid
2010, the Alberta economy will be coming back.
One sign is the resumption of some large projects.
Will your customers be cautious about spending
for your service or product? A recent survey by
Boston Consulting Group forecasts that, post-recession,
almost 75% of Canadian consumers will buy products
on sale and will postpone major purchases that
can be put off.
Thrifty consumers will be seen more often, whereas,
there will be fewer free spenders.
Expert marketers say segmentation studies are
the best way to determine how to market to your
consumers. This segmentation can be done by location,
industry, type of business or lifestyle.
Retailers wanting to express "feeling their
pain" to customers may better reflect it
in marketing literature than in cutting prices
which can adversely affect cash flow and profit
margins. The marketing message should be that
thrift is a lifestyle choice rather than the result
of economic reality.
As to the recession itself, according to Mr.
Drummond, TD Bank economist, the current recession
is one that is commodity-price based. The Conference
Board of Canada's Pedro Artunes agrees. They think
that once commodities are on an upswing the Canadian
and, thereby, Albertan economies will improve.
Alberta small business owners will need to ride
out this current economic situation knowing customers
may not be in contact as frequently as they were.
But, an important key to keeping your business
afloat and the best way to gauge customer behaviour
is to keep in touch with them. Make the experiences
you do have with your customers as pleasant and
rewarding as possible.
For more market research statistics and forecasts,
contact The Business Link Library
at 1 800 272-9675.