Central Alberta Economic Partnership launches business retention, expansion project

A soon-to-be implemented economic development project aims to help Central Alberta businesses become more competitive.

The Central Alberta Economic Partnership is launching a business retention and expansion project, starting with a survey on Monday.

“We’re excited to move ahead with this project,” said Patricia McQuarrie, CAEP board of directors chair. “It will help our member municipalities to better connect with their business communities, and it’s one more example of how collaboration can help everyone throughout our region.”

Paul Blais, executive vice-president of MDB Insight — a management consultant firm, has been hired to assist and provide guidance for the project.

He said, in a release, helping businesses become more competitive increases the chances of those businesses staying in the community and “by extension creates a more business-friendly environment.”

The project will focus on existing businesses, as Blais said they are vital to employment within the community.

It will start with a phone survey starting on Monday. Businesses will be contacted and asked to participate. The survey will identify the business environment in communities across the partnership and on the challenges and successes of local businesses.

The information will then be reviewed by CAEP, in coordination with MDB Insight, and look to address issues and opportunities indicated by businesses.

The CAEP is a regional economic development alliance that includes 35 municipal members including Red Deer, Rocky Mountain House, Stettler, Wetaskiwin, Sundre, Olds, Drumheller and Lacombe as well as 11 associate members. The organization serves as a model for collaborative community economic development.

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