Gateway Gazette

New Support for Grande Prairie Entrepreneurs

Grande Prairie is the second location to receive business incubator funding under the Alberta Entrepreneurship Incubator Program.

Business Development Officer Leah Holler shows Minister Deron Bilous around the new Spark! Business Incubator in Grande Prairie.

The Spark! Business Incubator will receive $400,000 over two years to support entrepreneurs and small businesses in northwestern Alberta. Several regional incubators are planned across the province through the Alberta Jobs Plan.

“Entrepreneurs are people who see opportunity where others might only see challenges.  They put a lot on the line to start their own business and bring their new products and new ideas to market. We know small businesses with incubator support have an average 25% growth rate, while nationally the average growth rate is less than five per cent. We are providing them this support to keep working together to grow and diversify our economy, and to make life better for Albertans.”

Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade

The Alberta Entrepreneurship Incubator program is a $10-million pilot project delivered through Alberta Innovates over two years to fund entrepreneur development and mentoring support programs in existing or new incubator spaces.

The program will give entrepreneurs access to professional business development advisors who can help them move their ideas forward, navigate greater innovation system supports and nurture the development of companies during the startup period.

“Community Futures Grande Prairie and Region is thrilled to be part of the Spark! Business Incubator. This amazing partnership between the Government of Alberta, GPRC Research & Innovation, Community Futures and the City of Grande Prairie is another example of the power of collaboration. Since opening our new location Feb. 1, the 12 offices in the business incubator have filled and our expansion plan is well underway. Entrepreneurship is truly alive, well and supported in Grande Prairie.”

Holly Sorgen, Executive Director at Spark! Business Incubator

“Alberta Innovates is proud to deliver the Alberta Entrepreneur Incubator initiative throughout the province. This initiative demonstrates an intentional drive toward an entrepreneurial culture in the province, creates new firms which generate new jobs and develops new technologies and support mechanisms for the diversification and growth of our economy.”

Laura J. Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates

In addition to funding through the Alberta Entrepreneurship Incubator, the City of Grande Prairie is also receiving $17,500 in grant funding through the Community and Regional Economic Support (CARES) program to support the launch of a retail incubator that will provide training and resources to help local entrepreneurs grow their retail business in the region.

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