Calgary Business Information Centre and Alberta Women Entrepreneurs Launch Services to Help Entrepreneurs Start and Grow Their Businesses

Wednesday, December 14 2011

Calgary, Alberta: The Calgary Business Information Centre (CBIC) and Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) have recently introduced new advisory and loan services to assist local entrepreneurs in starting and expanding their businesses.

AWE offers a new Fast Track Micro Loan Program for women entrepreneurs to gain quick access to loans under $10,000 for start-up or to assist with business expansion. "After talking with our clients, we began to really understand some of the financing road blocks they encountered – opportunities were slipping through the cracks without quick and fairly easy access to financing. We anticipate that many of our Fast Track Micro Loan clients will complete a full-fledged business plan and move on to access funding through our conventional lending stream – currently up to $100,000 per loan," states Alison Gray, Executive Director, AWE.

AWE is the only organization in Alberta that offers integrated advising, financing, loan after-care, and skills development through seminars, workshops, and networking. Business advisory services are free for women entrepreneurs starting, expanding, or purchasing a business.

CBIC now offers Senior Business Advising and Senior Trade Advising, in addition to their many services at their Calgary location. These new advisory roles help entrepreneurs with business plans, business operations including exporting, and market development. Advisory services at CBIC are free. In addition, CBIC offers affordable consulting services to address specific business areas like legal or accounting needs. "We recognized that there were gaps related to business planning and development. The advising services CBIC and AWE offer help address these gaps by providing clients with guidance to meet their individual needs. We realized that to help businesses be successful, not only do we need to provide them with the information to start up their venture but also the resources they need to grow," says Kristi Rosko, Executive Director, CBIC.

Both companies believe that small and medium business enterprises (SMEs) face numerous challenges in building their businesses. By offering complementary lending and advisory services, CBIC and AWE are dedicated to helping Calgary business owners advance in their industries.

Alberta Women Entrepreneurs (AWE) was formerly Alberta Women’s Enterprise Initiative Association (AWEIA) and provides business financing, advice, and networking opportunities. Initiated in 1995 as a not-for-profit Alberta corporation, AWE has loaned over $6 million to Alberta women for business start-up, purchases, and expansion. Over 19,000 women have accessed AWE’s services involving business advising, training sessions, networking events, and financing.

These services are made possible thanks to the support of Western Economic Diversification Canada.

The Calgary Business Information Centre is a not for profit organization whose mandate is to provide business start-up assistance, and development resources and services to businesses in the Calgary region. Services consist of one-on-one business guidance and advisory services with small business experts, a fully equipped onsite small business reference library, workshops and seminars, networking events, referral services to government and other small business providers, and professional consulting services. CBIC is a joint initiative funded by Calgary Economic Development, Alberta Economic Development and Western Economic Diversification. Every year CBIC helps over 20,000 small business persons to further reach their goal of small business ownership.

Kim McLelland, Communications Specialist, AWE, 403-777-4252
Kristi Rosko, Executive Director, CBIC, 403-221-7813

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