Edmonton, AB – The Rural Alberta Development Fund Board of Directors approved more than $1.2 million in funding towards a pilot project aimed at empowering communities to invest locally, direct their own economic development and reduce dependency on government supports. Led by the Alberta Community and Cooperative Association (ACCA), the Unleashing Local Capital model will direct outward-bound investments towards local businesses, keeping local capital flowing through local communities.
“Albertans working together and investing in their own communities will strengthen our provincial and regional economies,” said the Honourable Evan Berger, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. “This initiative will help create new businesses, increase employment and income levels and provide a low-risk investment for rural communities.”
The Unleashing Local Capital project will educate rural communities on the community investment model while assisting in establishing a community investment fund – a pool of capital raised from local investors, managed by a local committee and then invested in local businesses. Three pilot communities will be selected to implement and test the Unleashing Local Capital model and create a Raising Local Capital Guide that will provide step-by-step instructions for rural community leaders to develop investment cooperatives. The project focuses on addressing rural business succession planning, directing local capital into local communities and simplifying and reducing the cost of investing.
“Seeing other rural communities, both in Alberta and across Canada, successfully use the community investment fund model shows how these types of cooperatives increase local business revenue and create more jobs to maintain the economic vitality of rural communities,” said Marie Logan, Chair of the Board of Directors, Rural Alberta Development Fund. “This project is also transferable as it will develop a series of tools and training resources to help establish community investment funds in other rural Alberta communities.”
ACCA takes the lead on this project with a strong support network from Athabasca University, Community Futures Network of Alberta, Alberta Business Family Institute and Alberta Rural Development Network, all of whom will participate in selecting the pilot communities, indentifying project stakeholders, coordinating local projects and developing training guides and online programs.
Funding from the Rural Alberta Development Fund will go towards developing the Raising Local Capital Guide, associated workshops and online support materials, producing promotional materials and administrative and operational costs. The project’s anticipated completion date is December 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, $97.4 million has been committed to 83 projects. The remaining funds will be committed by March 31, 2012. Expressions of Interest are no longer being accepted.
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For more information, contact:
Communications & Program Coordinator
Rural Alberta Development Fund
Director of Co-op Development
Alberta Community and Co-operative Association