The provincial government announced last week the recipients of the BC Rural Dividend program funding. One of these recipients is the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce.
The Chamber of Commerce is being awarded $67,100 to provide entrepreneurial training for business owners and to identify skills which increase their chances of success, through workshops, a women’s business forum and a series of lunch-n-learn events for young professionals.
This funding is part of nearly $8 million in 58 project grants being awarded to eligible local governments, First Nations and not-for-profit organizations to help fund projects that that will stabilize rural economies. Grants can be up to $100,000 each, or up to $500,000 each for partnership projects.
The BC Rural Dividend program is one aspect of the BC government’s rural development mandate, which is committed to making rural communities more resilient.
Chamber of Commerce executive director Bill Collette said the funding consists of three parts.
“Primarily, the biggest focus is just general business training for anyone who wants to access it,” he said.
He explained that there is also a component that is specific to women in business, as well as a component for young entrepreneurs.
“We just want to help the business community,” said Collette.
Mid Island-Pacific Rim MLA Scott Fraser announced last Tuesday on behalf of the Minister of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development that the BC Rural Dividend program would be providing more than $750,000 to communities on the west coast of Vancouver Island.
“By listening to rural communities, we are able to support projects that deliver wide-ranging local benefits,” said Fraser. “These three projects alone will support business entrepreneurs, expand tourism opportunities, and deliver much-needed affordable housing.”
The Chamber of Commerce plans to develop and deliver training that provides information to local businesses such as marketing strategies, social media marketing skills and bookkeeping training.
“There are so many areas that people maybe need that support,” said Collette.
The ultimate goal, said Collette, is always to bring new businesses to Port Alberni. But in the meantime, the Chamber of Commerce wants to provide support to the businesses already in the area.
“We want to make sure the businesses we have get stronger and healthier,” said Collette.