New project focuses on economic diversity, stability
Edmonton, AB – A new project led by Red Deer County aims to boost local business expansion and foreign direct investment in central Alberta rural communities. Rural Alberta Development Fund Board of Directors has approved $1,172,050 in funding for the regional economic development project called Turning the Keys on Opportunity. The project will connect investment-ready businesses in central Alberta to international investment opportunities.
“Economic diversification increases economic stability, and strong economies are a key component to sustainable communities,” said Honourable Jack Hayden, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. “The anticipated outcomes of this project have the potential to reach beyond economic impact, and set the participating communities up for future sustainability and success.”
Turning the Keys on Opportunity will strategically foster economic diversification and sustainability at a business-to-business level by focusing on targeted foreign direct investment, business retention and expansion. Programs and processes, including a business investment web platform, will be developed to connect local companies to international investment opportunities and help increase the skills, knowledge and capacity of rural communities to diversify and expand their economic base.
The project will be delivered through Red Deer Regional Economic Development, or RDRED, and the Central Alberta Economic Partnership, or CAEP and other sub-regional partnerships. Through this collaboration, the project will involve more than 40 municipalities, a dozen associate members and the Montana First Nation.
“One of the most innovative aspects of this project is the level of collaboration. It will engage communities with populations as low as 300 to as many as 90,000,” said Jann Beeston, Chair, RADF Board of Directors. “It also includes several processes and tools that can be used as a model for other rural communities to focus on economic growth and diversification.”
With a solid working partnership between project members already in place, Turning the Keys on Opportunity will build on the capacity and existing efforts of regional economic partners. The three priority sectors identified as qualified business prospects are manufacturing, logistics and transportation, and the agri-food industry. Funding from Rural Alberta Development Fund will be used for staffing, developing the web platform, attracting investment and implementing training programs. The project is expected to be complete by December 31, 2013.
Rural Alberta Development Fund is a not-for-profit company that inspires innovation, collaboration and growth across rural Alberta. In 2007, it was capitalized with $100 million by the Government of Alberta as part of its Rural Development Strategy. So far, $79.6 million has been committed to 73 projects. Applications are now being accepted for the remaining $20.4 million, which must be committed by March 31, 2012.
For more information, contact:
Director of Communications
Rural Alberta Development Fund
780.436.9585 office; 780.399.7336 cell
Mayor Jim Wood
Red Deer County