Latest news

Enabling Accessibility Fund now Open for Proposals

There has been a new Request for Proposal (RFP) opened recently from the Enabling Accessibility Fund (EAF) for funding of up to $50,000 for accessibility/safety retrofit, renovation and/or construction projects. 

This program is described as follows:

The EAF funds organizations, businesses and other eligible recipients to improve accessibility and/or safety for people with disabilities by supporting the capital costs of renovation, construction and/or retrofit activities and the provision of accessible technologies in workplaces and communities across Canada.”


Key points of the RFP:


·         There will be two separate funding streams available:  workplace and community

·         Funding is available up to $50,000 maximum per project

·         Applicants must meet the 35% leveraging requirement (meaning that 35% of the total cost of the project must be funded by cash or in-kind contribution)

·         Examples of Workplace Stream Projects would be:  widening doorways and hallways, installing elevator lifts, installing a/v fire alarms, interactive IT speech capability, enhanced lighting, lowering counters in food service        areas and service desks. 

·         Examples of Community Stream Projects would be:  access ramps, automatic doors, accessible door handles, accessible pathways, visual impairment colour coding on infrastructure.

·         Examples not allowed:  accessibility modifications designed for one individual that is not transferrable to others, modifications or retrofit to motor vehicles, renovations or retrofit of private dwellings.

·         Project duration must be no longer than 52 weeks

·         Activities started prior to approval of application will be deemed ineligible for funding

·         RFP deadline is July 26, 2017


Here is the link to the RFP:  ESDC/EAF Fund    Please let us know if we can help in any way with your application process!



Alberta Helps Entreprenuers Create New Job Opportunties


The Government of Alberta is supporting enterprising Albertans during the current economic downturn by providing training on running their own business.

Albertans looking to take new products, services or ideas to market can work with experts and mentors to create business plans, connect with investors and learn best practices as part of the Alberta government’s Self-Employment training program.

“Small businesses are the backbone of our economy and our government is committed to helping them grow and thrive. This is a valued program that’s equipping aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools and confidence they need to achieve their dreams.”

Christina Gray, Minister of Labour

“Entrepreneurs put a lot on the line to start their own business, and collectively they play an important role in strengthening and diversifying our economy. We want to be there for them from the drawing board and throughout their start-up experience.”

Deron Bilous, Minister of Economic Development and Trade

“The Self-Employment program uses seasoned entrepreneur trainers to help Albertans make the transition to business ownership. Through a combination of group sessions and personal coaching, this program gives students the technical skills and confidence to greatly improve their likelihood of success as they venture into the world of self-employment.”

Paul Anderson, President, Anderson Career Training Institute (ACTI)

“Graduating from this program through ACTI provided me with the confidence and crucial tools needed to successfully start my own business. I am now a proud owner of a local business that provides employment to other insurance professionals.”

Evelinne Teichgraber, President and owner, Caliber Insurance Brokers Ltd.

The Self-Employment program is up to 26 weeks in length and provides formal instruction on all aspects of business operation including business plan development, business counseling, coaching and guidance. At the end of the program, participants are expected to be operating their business on a full-time basis.

Starting this month, the Alberta government is partnering with Anderson Career Training Institute and Microbusiness Training Centre to expand capacity in the Edmonton-area to support more Albertans. Similar programs are also available in Calgary, Lethbridge and other parts of the province.

Approximately $1.9 million is allocated to Self-Employment training for 2016-17 in partnership with the Government of Canada.

The Self-Employment training program is one of several programs under the Alberta government’s Training for Work initiative. More information about Self-Employment training and other Training for Work programs is available at


Training Opportunity

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. 



Training for Your Board of Directors

Community Futures is your Board Training Partner
Board Members are dedicated, hardworking volunteers. They are highly skilled in a variety of areas of governance. Regardless of their experience with boards, operations and financial management, Board Training will ensure that they continue to be effective in their governance roles.
Make your board be the best it can be with with Community Futures Leadership Institute Board training for Community and Not-For-Profit Organizations.
We offer proven, effective Board Development Training in the following areas:
  • Operations-Board and Staff
  • Legal Responsibilities of Boards
  • Financial Management 
  • Board Development and Evaluation
  • Management, Recruitment, Performance and Evaluation
  • Board Leadership
  • So You Want to be a Chair-Chairing with Confidence

How it Works

Community Futures Centre West will work with interested parties to select and schedule a training session that is of interest to your board. 

For more information contact Dianne Graham at 403 464-2572



What if?

If nobody asked “What if?”, what a boring world it would be. Fortunately, there are entrepreneurs in big cities and small towns who do. People who are driven to create, build networks, find markets, and grow ideas into reality. Every single advancement in history was developed by somebody who had the curiosity and courage to ask “What if?”. It’s no different in rural Western Canada where opportunity is there for those who seek it. If you’re one of those people, we’d like to talk. We're Community Futures, an organization that provides affordable and flexible financing to help you start, expand, buy or move a small business. If you’re willing to ask “What if?”, we may well ask you “why not?”. For more information, get in touch today.



Rocky Mountain Ventures Hosts Successful Grizzly's Den

Rocky Mountain Ventures, a not for profit volunteer driven organization intent on stimulating the Bow Valley’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, held its inaugural Grizzly’s Den business pitch competition on Wednesday September 24, 2014 at the Banff Springs Hotel in Banff.

Inspired by the popular Dragon’s Den show airing on CBC, Rocky Mountain Ventures’ Grizzly’s Den event aimed to give thriving entrepreneurs the opportunity to present business opportunities to qualified investors from the area and across Alberta.  “The Bow Valley is home to highly skilled entrepreneurs and experienced investors – which makes for a perfect recipe for new and fast growing business opportunities,” says Eric Schmadtke, founder of Rocky Mountain Venture, Vice-President for Enertech Capital and resident of Canmore.

Rocky Mountain Ventures launched in June and has been quick to form a solid board representing entrepreneurs and investors with expertise in a wide range of sectors including information technologies, wearables, specialty products, engineering, consulting as well as representatives from municipal and provincial economic development agencies.  “Our goal is to leverage existing strengths and attract new players in order to make the Bow Valley a hub for innovation and economic growth in fast-paced industries,” adds Schmadtke. “The Grizzly’s Den is our first effort in creating an engaging dialogue between entrepreneurs and investors in the area and we hope to build on this event in the future with more initiatives.”

Rocky Mountain Ventures would like to thank Banff Venture Forum for providing the room at the Banff Springs Hotel - four companies pitched to a standing room only crowd.  "It was exciting, fast paced and truly tested the companies ability to pitch - just like the Dragon's Den," said Jodie Eckert of Community Futures Centre West.

For more information about Rocky Mountain Ventures please see

“In the Trenches” Workshops Announced by Community Partnership

A community focused partnership is offering “In the Trenches” workshops aimed at providing local non-profit organizations and small businesses with practical skills they need to succeed.
The partners include Bow Valley College (BVC) in Cochrane, the Calgary Regional Partnership (CRP), Community Futures Centre West (CFCW) and Glenbow Ranch Park Foundation (GRPF).  “These sessions follow the successful workshops we offered in partnership with Bow Valley College last year,” said Tara McFadden, Development Officer, GRPF. “We had positive feedback from non-profits that wanted to see more of these programs. Thanks to BVC’s initiative we’ve been able to expand the partnership and offer a broader range of topics.”  “Bow Valley College is proud to be a part of this partnership. Together we are providing a Cochrane created learning experience that will enable our communities to have greater success,” said Shauna Cox, Regional Lead Bow Valley College Cochrane.
The workshops provide a range of practical educational opportunities for non-profits and small businesses. Topics include, Grant Applications, Marketing and Social Media, Business Planning, and Sustainable Tourism.
Past programs were created to meet non-profit needs but Jodie Eckert of Community Futures Centre West (CFCW), saw an opportunity to support both non-profits and local businesses. “A good understanding of business planning is necessary for any project, and we are glad to be a partner in providing the tools for success.”  “The workshops offer a broad range of skills, but as tourism grows in our region, it becomes more important that businesses understand how best to engage the tourism market and provide a balance between environmental and economic concerns. The Calgary Regional Partnership is glad to be a part of this workshop series,” said Bob Miller, Economic Prosperity Lead, CRP.
Workshops will be offered over the fall and winter and will be hosted at the Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park. Each workshop will be a full day session and participants will receive a certificate of completion.
  • Grant Application Workshop: October 24, 2014
  • Marketing & Social Media on Shoestring Budget: November 21, 2014
  • Build Your Business Plan: January 23, 2015
  • Sustainable Tourism: March 13, 2015

Workshop fees are $95/each and include lunch. For more information and to register for the programs, visit the GRPF website at


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Community Futures Centre West
3209 2nd Floor, Building B
101 Sunset Drive
Cochrane, AB T4C 0B4


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