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Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network

Business Financing in Central Alberta

One of the most significant setbacks an entrepreneur has is hearing “no” from financial institutions. However, a brilliant business idea or expanding a company helps fuel the economy and business development in Alberta, and Community Futures Central Alberta recognizes that by offering support, training, and financing opportunities.

What is Community Futures?

Community Futures Central Alberta is a non-profit organization comprised of expert business advisors and a volunteer board of directors and has been operating for over thirty years. Funded by Western Economic Diversification Canada, Community Futures Central Alberta is one of 267 offices in Canada supporting people to grow, expand, franchise, or sell their business.

By providing Central Alberta entrepreneurs with expertise, training opportunities, and access to funding, they have a better chance of success, thereby creating jobs and fueling the economy in the Central Alberta corridor.

How is Community Futures Central Alberta Different from Banks?

Community Futures offers small businesses flexible loans ranging up to $150,000; however, you only borrow the funds as you need them.

Like traditional financial institutions, Community Futures requires borrowers to meet specific criteria to qualify for new business funding, including the “5 C’s of Lending”.

  • Credit

  • Capacity

  • Capital

  • Character

  • Collateral

And, as the banks do, Community Futures also requires a business and marketing plan. However, Community Futures approaches the 5 C’s differently than the banks do and offer unique loan products with more flexible approval qualification and repayment terms. Don’t have a business plan?

One primary difference with Community Futures is that their business advisors and professionals assist clients in researching and writing their business and marketing plans. Financial institutions are only interested in the business plan itself.

So, if the banks have said “no,” you still have options. Community Futures can help you with start-up funding in Alberta.

What Types of Loans Does Community Futures Offer?

Businesses need funding for various reasons, and Community Futures has a list of products to meet them.

The types of business loans offered include:

  • Loans for start-up

  • Business expansion

  • Technology investment

  • New business

  • Purchase of an existing business

Community Futures considers assets, income, and skills with a broader lens, making their loan products accessible and affordable. As a result, many people return to use Community Futures for their lending needs as their business grows and changes.

Entrepreneurs receive the added bonus of access to free business guidance and counseling, further improving their chances of success.

Learn more about Community Futures Loans.

What Services Does Community Futures Offer?

Community Futures works alongside its clients and borrowers, providing support, training, counselling, and networking resources to help build strong and diversified businesses and industries in Central Alberta.

There are three pillars of services:

  1. Business Guidance & Support

  2. Business Loans

  3. Business Training Programs

Business guidance and support can be in the form of mentoring, counselling, or advice from one of Community Future’s seasoned business experts.

Business loan products with flexible and affordable repayment options help businesses stay in business.

Business training programs ensure entrepreneurs have access to the information and training they need to be successful in all areas of operation. It can include accounting, marketing, business plan development and more.

To qualify for any of the Community Futures programs, here is a list of requirements:

  • You must live within rural Alberta

  • You must be involved in the day-to-day activities of the business

  • You must be of legal age and a resident of Canada

  • You must apply for funding through the bank first (for lending applications)

Of course, the direction you take will depend on whether you are starting a business, expanding, or purchasing an existing company.

The great part is that, outside of lending fees and interest, all Community Futures programs and services are FREE!

Learn more about Community Futures Services.

What Training Programs are Available at Community Futures?

Community Futures develops and hosts various training programs to suit the diverse needs of people in Central Alberta. Some programs include:

  • SMARTstart

  • Business Succession & Matching

  • Entrepreneurs With Disabilities

  • Rotary Alberta’s Youth Entrepreneurship Camp

  • Maskawisîw Women in Business Start-up Program

But that’s not all!

Community Futures is part of a wide-reaching network of community partners focused on providing resources, training, and access to funding opportunities, including new business grants, to help develop business in Central Alberta.

Instead of getting lost in an endless loop of information online and wondering what direction to go, innovative entrepreneurs can save valuable time and energy by tapping into the knowledge base of Community Futures. They will narrow down the best resources to suit your needs and develop a plan of action with you.

For example, one such Community Futures partner is CARIN.

How do CARIN and Community Futures Work Together?

Every business is unique and has individual requirements. One agency or organization can’t possibly be a one-size-fits-all and adequately provide all the support and resources for every type of business.

The Central Alberta Regional Innovation Network (CARIN) also provides business advice, resources, and access to funding opportunities. However, they strive to help entrepreneurs and businesses, specifically in the agriculture, technology, manufacturing, and oil pivot industries. CARIN offers their eight-week Incubator program throughout the year, focusing on developing these industry-specific cohorts.

CARIN’s Catalyst Incubator is for entrepreneurs and businesses at the idea or start-up phase of their concept. The Incubator evolves the business concept from the initial idea through research, risk assessment, development requirements, and the manufacturing process to implementation and scaling. At the end of the program, participants have a complete business plan and can implement the next steps with their concept.

It includes accessing Government of Alberta grants, business financing through organizations like Community Futures Central Alberta, investors, and potential partners.

Learn more about CARIN and the Catalyst Incubator.

To Review…

Community Futures Central Alberta helps build strong and economically diverse businesses and industries by supporting entrepreneurs with mentoring, training, and financing at various stages of their growth.

Are you interested in learning how Community Futures can support your business?

CONTACT US by email at or by phone at 403-342-2055.

Sign up for our newsletter today!

To be added to the CARIN distribution list, stay informed on innovation networking events, workshops, courses, trade missions, and government grants.

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