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Community Futures Alberta Southwest Has Money to Lend

Rob Vogt

Special to The Macleod Gazette

May 28, 2014

Small businesses can receive assistance in a variety of ways from Community Futures Alberta Southwest (CFABSW).  The MD of Willow Creek learned more about [the organization and its programs] when Community Futures Alberta Southwest General Manager Tony Walker appeared as a delegation to the MD of Willow Creek Council meeting.

Community Futures is a federally-funded program started in 1992 as the Southwest Alberta Business Development Institute.  It changed its name to Community Futures Alberta Southwest in 2007.

Community Futures Alberta Southwest is a non-profit organization guided by a volunteer board of directors.  The MD of Willow Creek is represented by David Mullholland.

There are 27 Community Futures offices in Alberta.  Each office receives an annual operating budget of $300,000 from the federal government.  CFABSW has a 3.5-million dollar loan portfolio, with $1-million loaned out and $2.5-million ready to loan.

It is a business centre that makes loans up to $150,000 to individuals interested in stating, expanding or purchasing a business.  CFABSW is a business development centre that provides business training, counselling, and coaching to individuals interested in starting a business. 

Community Futures can also offer loans to businesses turned down by traditional lenders; and work creatively with financial institutions on joint financing.

The services offered by CFABSW are: individualized one-on-one counselling; ongoing coaching and mentoring; access to local business expertise through their referral network; a resource library; and regional economic development.

Its partners are Western Economic Development Canada; chambers of commerce; economic development officers and committees; municipal councils; and regional economic development alliances.  From 1995 to 2013 about six percent of its loans went to businesses in the MD of Willow Creek.

Its current programs are: development of a foreign direct investment strategy; the Alberta Youth Entrepreneurship Camp; the Chinook Entrepreneur Challenge; a business visitation program; and the GOForth Institute training program.

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Aetna, Beaver Mines, Burmis, Cardston, Carway, Chief Mountain, Claresholm, Cowley, Fort Macleod, Glenwood, Granum, Hill Spring, Leavitt, Lundbreck, Mountain View, Pincher Creek, Pincher Station, Stavely, Twin Butte, and Waterton