Apply Now – Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF)

We are here for you! While we are currently not open for in-person meetings or training, we are available by phone appointment or virtual meeting during our regular business hours. If you would like to speak to a staff member about our programs and services, we can be reached by:
Phone: 403-342-2055 or Email: central [at]

Latest news

Alberta Women's Entrepreneurs Regional Relief and Recovery Fund

Applications Open: AWE's Regional Relief and Recovery Fund


Women Entrepreneurs requiring COVID-19 support can now access up to $40,000 through AWE’s Regional Relief and Recovery Fund (RRRF).
What is the RRRF?

This fund was created to provide financial support to women entrepreneurs that have been unable to access other relief programs.

Loan details
• Maximum loan of $40,000;
• 0% interest and no principal payments until December 31, 2022;
• Principal repayments can be voluntarily made at any time;
• 25% (not to exceed $10,000) can be forgiven provided you have paid 75% of the original loan amount prior to December 31, 2022;
• If you are unable to repay the loan by December 31, 2022, the loan will be converted to a three-year term loan with interest rates up to 5%, effective January 1, 2023. The full balance must be repaid no later than December 31, 2025
Applications are now open.

Learn More:

New Federal Funding for Indigenous Groups and Organizations

New Federal Funding for Indigenous and Equity-seeking Groups and Organizations

July 7, 2020
The Canada Council for the Arts enthusiastically welcomes the federal government’s announcement of $7.8 million in new emergency support for Indigenous and equity-seeking groups and organizations. This new federal funding is in addition to other essential measures taken by the Canada Council and other funders to offset the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the arts sector.

A long-standing commitment to Indigenous and equity-seeking groups.

The current pandemic has severely impacted the entire arts community due to the suspension of activities. The pandemic has also revealed systemic inequities, disparities and barriers that have persisted in society. The arts sector is not exempt from these sad realities.
For several decades, the Council has adopted a targeted approach in its work with artists, arts groups and arts organizations from Indigenous, culturally diverse, Deaf and disability and official language minority communities. The approach lies at the heart of the Council’s commitments to the arts sector; it is intended to foster a sector that fully reflects Canada’s diversity and recognizes the cultural sovereignty of the First Nations, Inuit and Métis peoples in Canada. The ultimate goal is to identify and eliminate potential obstacles that might impede these communities’ access to Council support. Additional funding to ensure their artistic presence is now more essential than ever, and the Council is committed to maximizing the impact of the new funding.
The Council will contact arts groups and organizations eligible for the new funding in the coming weeks.

Eligible groups and organizations.

Eligible recipients are arts groups and organizations whose activities are negatively impacted by COVID-19, who have self-identified as belonging to one of Council’s designated priority groups, and who are one of the following:
• groups that applied for and received Council funding between April 2017 and June 2020;
• organizations that applied for Council funding between April 2017 and June 2020 and whose project was recommended but not successful; or
• organizations that applied for and received Council funding between April 2017 and June 2020 and did not receive phase 1 funding.
The allocation of amounts will be based on a formula and not on peer assessment.
Further information on eligibility and how the additional funds will be administered will be posted on the Council’s COVID-19: Information and support for the arts sector page. You can also contact us about the new funds at covid19 [at] (.)

Ongoing support to combat the effects of COVID-19

The Canada Council continues to deploy its human and financial resources to support the arts sector and ensure the sector maintains its vital presence in thousands of communities.
The Council is closely monitoring the current situation and is acutely aware of how greatly the arts sector’s activities have been impacted by physical distancing requirements and travel restrictions in response to COVID-19

Community Futures Network of Alberta Announces Succession Matching and Planning Workshop & Masterclass Series

Succession Matching and Planning series kicks off with first event July 14, 2020


Cochrane, AB – Eight Community Futures offices in southern Alberta have developed a Succession Matching and Planning (SMP) Project to address the need for succession planning and education resources within our rural business communities. In partnership with SuccessionMatching, the Alberta Business Family Institute, and Commercial Ventures, we are pleased to announce our series of workshops and masterclasses over the next twenty-one months, beginning with “Selling Your Business - Expert Panel”; a virtual discussion on July 14th.

We have an increasing number of clients approaching our offices asking about assistance with the sale of their business or its transition to a family member. Smaller communities in our regions have businesses simply choosing to shut down, thereby impacting the entire community. In many cases, business owners are unaware of their options or unsure about how to go about selling their business. This project will provide the resources and education needed to solve this problem.

The project has been made possible by the Rural Opportunities Fund, which is supported by Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD). The Rural Opportunities Fund supports community economic development projects and business retention initiatives, including community resiliency projects and business retention initiatives such as succession planning for small business owners.

The project is being coordinated by Community Futures Highwood, in collaboration with seven other Community Futures offices:

1.     Community Futures Alberta Southwest
2.     Community Futures Central Alberta
3.     Community Futures Centre West
4.     Community Futures Crowsnest Pass
5.     Community Futures East Parkland
6.     Community Futures Lethbridge
7.     Community Futures Wild Rose

The SMP workshop and masterclass series project aims to raise awareness and educate business owners and their ‘circle of influence’ such as bank personnel, realtors, municipal government employees, and community stakeholders and to provide access to resources through our vendors. We endeavor to see businesses successfully transition to new owners, ensuring those businesses remain a vital part of our local economies.

This project is open to registration and targets rural entrepreneurs who are looking at transitioning out of their respective businesses in the future, either via a family transition or a sale to an unrelated party. Event registration can be accessed through the Community Futures Facebook pages or via Eventbrite link.

About Community Futures

The mandate of the Community Futures Network of Alberta is to support small business development and rural economic diversification in Alberta. We actively work with community and business leaders to foster rural economic growth and are partners in building vibrant and sustainable communities. We are supported by the Government of Canada through Western Economic Diversification Canada and have been assisting rural entrepreneurs for over 30 years.

Patti-Jay Powell
Executive Director, Community Futures Centre West
ppowell [at]
3209, 101 Sunset Drive, Cochrane, AB T4C 0W7

Business Resilience Service

Small to medium-sized businesses, not-for-profit organizations and charities will now have direct access to a network of qualified business advisors to help guide them courtesy of a new, government-funded program from the Canadian Chamber of Commerce.

The program, called the Business Resilience Service (BRS), is run through the Canadian Chamber’s Canadian Business Resilience Network in collaboration with EY and with support from Chartered Professional Accountants of Canada (CPA Canada) and Imagine Canada. The BRS will provide options for any vulnerable small to medium-sized business, not-for-profit or charity to immediately connect with experienced accounting and tax professionals across the country from professional services firms. The program, delivered to organizations free of charge, will:

•         Provide guidance on program options and eligibility
•         Rapidly direct businesses – including enterprises involving Indigenous peoples, women and diverse groups – to the most appropriate support organizations
•         Help organizations make decisions to support recovery plans
•         Provide real time insights and feedback to policymakers

The BRS program, coordinated by EY, will be provided for four weeks from Monday, May 25, and will involve support from approximately 125 business advisors from across the accounting profession. Organizations can access the BRS seven days a week by calling 1-866-989-1080.

8th Annual Alberta Open Farm Days (OFD)

Calling all farm direct producers… you are invited to participate…

Registration is open for farms wanting to share their agriculture story with consumers during the 8th annual Alberta Open Farm Days (OFD). Register by May 31, 2020.

This year’s event will run province wide the weekend of August 15 and 16, 2020.  Last year’s event continued to set records with 150 participating farms, 31 culinary events, 42,500 visits, and over $262,000 in sales. It is a collaborative, province wide, two-day event that gives Albertans an opportunity to experience the farm and understand where their food comes from. It is a backstage pass to meet the farmer, experience Ag-tourism in Alberta and taste local foods direct from the producer.

Farms can register online at .  They can choose which day (or both days!) they wish to open their gates, and are provided event insurance at no cost to them when registered to take part.

For those of you interested in exploring adding culinary to your event, we have tools available to you.  Combined with the materials on AHS and AGLC regulations, we have materials on:
1. Connecting & Collaborating
2.  Food Sampling & Demos 
3. Long Table Dinners.  

This year Open Farm Days will host two workshops in the spring that will focus on marketing, social media and culinary for those of you interested in learning in a networking environment.

**New this year, we have an exciting new direction for working with local brewers and distillers.  This opportunity is for farms wishing to showcase local craft beverages with their event.  Your approved brewery partner (must have a MT, MP or MA licence)  will be able to apply at no cost for a "caterers extension" and you will be able to select a chef or restaurant partner and attach the menu for your AGLC approvals.  We will be sharing this information through Open Farm Days and continue to offer coaching assistance for your unique needs through Food Tourism Strategies. For any of your culinary questions, feel free to reach out directly to Tannis Baker tannis [at] or at 403 830 2846  as we aim to assist you in growing your Ag-tourism opportunities on your farms.

Farms can also contact  openfarmdays [at]  for further questions about how to get involved with this amazing event!

SMARTstart Program Celebrates 2019 Entrepreneurs

AIRDRIE, ALBERTA – Fourteen- up-and-coming local entrepreneurs representing 13 businesses were celebrated on Wednesday, October 30 at the 2019 SMARTstart Program Celebration event in Airdrie.

The entrepreneurs spent the last eight months refining their idea for a new business or working to strengthen their existing business through the made-in-Airdrie SMARTstart entrepreneurial training program.

"This is the sixth year the program has been offered in Airdrie and each year we are blown away by the amazing progress made by our entrepreneurs over the course of eight months,” says Tara Levick, SMARTstart Organizing Committee Member. "The Celebration Event is truly a celebration of all the hard work made throughout the year. Everyone gets something different from SMARTstart and that’s what makes the program so special.”

The 2019 participants recognized at the event were:

  • Chris Lindsey, Leaps N Bounds Inflatables                       
  • Chrissie Rozak, GetintheLoop Airdrie
  • Cigdem Fareed, Distinct Graphics & Software Solutions
  • Colin Bailey, Evolution Performance
  • Danielle Doetzel, Boulevard Home Inc.
  • Kitty Bexson, Things by Kitty
  • Lindsey Coyle, Airdrie Exchange
  • Marla Elms, Grounded Natural Cleaning Services
  • Morgan Sylvain & Kayla McPhail, Smile & Co
  • Nick Davies, Cowork Space/Cocktail Lounge
  • Moonliza Menya, Kirabo Fashion & Interiors
  • Scott Jones, DigiWave Services
  • Tara Reid, Re’Ferbish Group

SMARTstart provided the participants with online business skills training, 11 in-person workshops delivered by Airdrie business experts, and a local mentor. Working with their mentor, each participant completed a business, strategic or feasibility plan.

The event was also an opportunity to celebrate 14 local businesspeople who volunteer their time to be SMARTstart mentors. One mentor was honoured for volunteering for five years, since the program’s inception in 2014. Congratulations to Kari Lines of Budget Blinds Airdrie and thank you for your continued support of the program.

SMARTstart was launched in 2014 and is an award-winning program delivered by the City of Airdrie Economic Development and Community Futures Centre West. SMARTstart has now provided training to 89 entrepreneurs and has helped a dozen new businesses open.

“One of the best things about SMARTstart is the people. From my mentor Tracy, the other entrepreneurs and mentors, to the program directors,” says Marla Elms, 2019 entrepreneur. “It’s so great to know that I’ve made lifelong connections and that I have a whole group of awesome people rooting for my success. To the people who work so hard to make SMARTstart happen: you are amazing, you are changing lives and I thank you for changing mine.”

The program is made possible with support from local sponsors:
• Seminar Sponsors: BDC, MNP Airdrie

• Entrepreneur Sponsors:  Airdrie Women in Business Association, McKee Homes, Sid Van der Meer, Blessingways Family Wellness
• Friend Sponsors:  Ecole Des Petits Amis, Edward Jones-Derek Lalonde, Kerry Oswald
• Media sponsors: Air 106.1FM, airdrielife, Airdrie Echo, Here’s the Scoop
• In-Kind Sponsors:  Hamptons Inn & Suites, Healthy Meals Made Easy, Noodlebox, Custom Gemini

Applications for the 2020 program are open until December 13, 2019. Entrepreneurs with an idea or new businesses (in operation for less than three years) are invited to learn more at information sessions on November 6 or December 4 at 7 p.m. or November 20 at 12 p.m. at City Hall (400 Main St SE).

To learn more, visit or e-mail info [at]

The 2019 SMARTstart participants.

Back Row (from left): Danielle Doetzel, Lindsey Coyle, Nick Davies, Scott Jones, Moonliza Menya
Front Row (from left): Morgan Sylvain, Kitty Bexson, Cigdem Fareed, Tara Reid, Chris Lindsey, Kayla McPhail, Marla Elms
Missing: Chrissie Rozak and Colin Bailey Photo Credit: Kristy Reimer Photography


Tara Levick, SMARTstart Committee City of Airdrie Economic Development Phone: 403.948.8800 x 8481
E-mail: tara.levick [at]

Volunteer Board of Directors Opportunity

Community Futures Centre West knows that community matters as much as success.

We are recruiting forward-thinking, value-oriented board members with a passion for leadership, community development, and entrepreneurship. Our professional board development program will keep you challenged, stimulate creativity and build leadership capabilities.
Funded by Western Economic Diversification, CF Centre West is a non-profit organization governed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Directors are local community champions and professionals with diverse skills and backgrounds and are responsible for setting the strategic direction of the organization.
For more information and to apply  go to:
Or contact Patti-Jay Powell, Executive Director e: ppowell [at], c: 403.389.8272 

SMARTstart wins the 2015-2016 Minister's Innovation Award

The Airdrie Business Resource Partnership (ABRP) wished to create a program combining online training, in-person workshops and a mentorship component that would target entrepreneurs in the development phase or in the first three years of business.  Over the course of the program the businesses would either develope a business plan or update their current business plan.

In 2014 the SMARTstart Entrepreneur Training Program was created with components of online training, workshops and local mentors. Partner contributions were leveraged with an Alberta Government Community Initiatives Project Grant for year one and in January 2014 the first sponsorship was welcomed.  By December 2014, sponsorships had been pledged for the 2015 program. The second SMARTstart program located in Airdrie launched late February 2015.

Project goals included: Increased capacity through training education and networking, building collaborative partnerships with government, private business and industry leaders to implement strategies to increase productivity, investment in research, development, growth and innovation. It was imperative to partner with organizations and/or communities to improve the business support system to early stage business and youth entrepreneurs.

Click link to hear some of our entrepreneurs share their experiences and the value of being part of this inaugural program. 

Entrepreneurs share their experiences and the value of having a mentor. 




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Community Futures Centre West
3209, 101 Sunset Drive
Cochrane, AB T4C 0W7


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Communities Served

Bragg Creek, 
Dead Mans Flats, 
Elbow Valley, 
Ghost Lake, 
Harvie Heights, 
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