Kathrynn Hotte, Small Business Adviser with The Rural Alberta Business Centre (RABC) says she’s seeing an increase in entrepreneurs and small businesses in the Lakeland area.
The RABC holds one-on-one consultations that serve to help lead people through entrepreneurship, “In 2015, we had 66 one-on-one consultations. In 2016, we had over 110. We’ve almost doubled [our numbers]; so, a really busy year from the client perspective,” Hotte explains these numbers represent only the call-in clients. “It doesn’t include the back-and-forth, emails, and follow-ups,” continual communication and mentorship, in a sense, is part of the services at the RABC, says Hotte.
Along with advising people as they embark on entrepreneurship, the RABC holds regular workshops to help clients expand their business knowledge. “We had ten workshops last year,” Hotte says workshops are typically held during the day, with expert speakers brought in to cover various topics. The workshops range from all elements of owning a business; including financial planning, using social media, networking, marketing, and how-to write business plans.
The RABC teams up with local groups and committees to assist in various projects; including the Wisdom & Opportunities for Women (WOW) group. Which is a networking group for local business women to meet, share ideas and help each other grow. “We’re trying to mix it up a little bit,” Hotte says the group decided to host a lunch hour networking event in January and February. The next event is Wednesday at the Shaw House. Pre-registration is required, call 780-594-1090.
The WOWs have been so well-received that a group of ladies from St. Paul are looking into starting the networking group in the town. “They’re going to reach out to the [nearby] communities to join,” Hotte says the first St. Paul WOW event is scheduled for April. “I chaired their first meeting and gave them a binder with ideas and documents to get them going.”
Another unique service that the RABC provides, that is catching on in other communities, is Business Incubators. The RABC hosts up to three businesses out of its offices; with economically reasonable rent charges. Included in the “rent” is a mentorship program tailored by the RABC. It included one-on-one time to help launch your business or take it to the next level. The program also provides access to RABC resources and connections; as well as, the trusted mentorship and expertise of Kathryn Hotte. Hotte helps incubator businesses in designing and executing their business plan; which includes following through with their goals.
The RABC has graduated three businesses in 2016, Blue Sun Healing, Cindy Couture Photography and Odd Job Gypsy. Hotte says there is space for a new incubator business to come in. If you are interested call 780-594-1090.
Recently, Portage College in St. Paul, called upon the RABC to help design an incubator program at their campus. Hotte assist in the set-up and will help advise the program to success.
The RABC in Cold Lake also won a prestigious award from the Economic Developers in 2016. “Overall, we’ve had a successful year at the RABC,” states Hotte. If you would like to learn more about the RABC, visit them online,www.northeastrabc.com.