A consortium of regional municipalities and other organizations has officially launched a project to give Central Alberta business a boost.
Central Alberta: Access Prosperity on Tuesday unveiled details of its Turning the Keys on Opportunity project, which is designed to enhance business retention and growth through expansion into the global marketplace, and to diversify and increase foreign direct investment here.
“This is our opportunity to make sure the rest of the world knows that Central Alberta is as prominent as Edmonton or Calgary,” said Al Kemmere, chair of Central Alberta: Access Prosperity and a councillor and former reeve with Mountain View County.
Speaking at a gathering of more than 50 people at the Red Deer County office, including municipal politicians and business people from the area, Kemmere described how Central Alberta: Access Prosperity was created by the City of Red Deer, Red Deer County, the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce, Red Deer College and Central Alberta Economic Partnership to encourage foreign direct investment in the 40 municipalities it represents.
This spring, the Rural Alberta Development Fund announced that it was providing $1.2 million for Central Alberta: Access Prosperity’s Turning the Keys on Opportunity project, which has a total budget in excess of $2 million.
Brad Ferguson, chair of the Rural Alberta Business Development Fund, said the project appealed to his staff because it’s proactive in dealing with foreign investment.
Often, he said, major economic powers take over agricultural production in the countries they invest in and export the resulting value back to their countries.
“If we don’t have our act together, things are going to happen to us,” he warned.
Ferguson said the fact that Central Alberta: Access Prosperity represented a number of partners working together also made it an attractive organization to support.
Kemmere said Turning the Keys on Opportunity will involve visits to local businesses to determine their needs, promotion of business-to-business interaction, and generation and cultivation of business and investment leads at international trade shows.
Another component of the project introduced on Tuesday was a new interactive website that provides prospective investors with a wealth of information about Central Alberta and the communities and businesses located here.
Cyril Cooper, manager of Central Alberta: Access Prosperity, said recent months have been spent setting up staff and other resources for Turning the Keys on Opportunity.
The project has been represented at several trade shows, he said, including the mammoth Agritechnica ag machinery and equipment trade show that took place earlier this month in Hanover, Germany.
“We’ll have more to come,” he added.
The Central Alberta: Access Prosperity website can be found at www.accessprosperity.ca.