City to launch Ask an Airdrie Expert program to connect businesses
Airdrie Economic Development will launch a new program to connect local businesses with professional services.
The Ask an Airdrie Expert program will be introduced Oct. 16 during the inaugural Connect for Success: Small Business Expo, the flagship event of this year’s Small Business Week, which runs Oct. 14 to 20.
The expo will take place at Cam Clark Ford from 3 to 7 p.m.
The program, which the City’s economic development department plans to put on several times a year, will provide an opportunity for small business people to connect with local business experts such as lawyers and accountants.
“The idea is to allow the small business owner… to understand how professional services can help their businesses,” said Sara Chamberlain, an economic development officer with the City of Airdrie. “(This sessions will help) to break down the barrier between small businesses and professional firms.”
Forty 20-minute sessions are available with four different experts, including an accountant, lawyer, commercial real estate expert and finance and banking expert.
Business owners are being asked to book slots on www.airdrienow.ca
The program is intended to connect Airdrie businesses with volunteer, local experts to provide opportunities for businesspeople to ask topic-specific questions in a safe, welcoming, no-cost and no-obligation environment; introduce businesses to the professional resources available locally; and educate business owners about how working with business professionals can benefit their companies.
“It’s essential businesses access professional assistance when they need it,” said Chamberlain.
“From the research we’ve done, we identified there is a gap in Airdrie between businesses and professional services. Our new Ask an Airdrie Expert program has been designed to help bridge that gap.”
According to Chamberlain, a call for “Airdrie Experts” volunteers was issued earlier this fall.
Airdrie is home to 1,700 licensed businesses, of which 99 per cent have less than 100 employees and 86 per cent have less than 10, said Chamberlain, adding that 60 per cent of businesses are home-based.
The Small Business Expo is being put on by the Airdrie Business Resource Partnership, a three-way collaboration between the City of Airdrie, the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce and Community Futures West. Chamberlain said the event will be especially appealing to small and home-based businesses.
In addition to the Ask an Airdrie Expert sessions, the event will include a resource fair with about 15 local vendors, and a roundtable sessions during which local area experts will share their success.
The 3:30 p.m. session, Know your Customer, will feature local business owners Joan Bell of Airdrie Yoga & Fitness, and Tamara Laschinsky of Natural e Green.
A 4:30 p.m. session, Growing Out of Your Home-based Business, will feature Sandi Christensen of Goodmen Roofing and Donna BeBault of Zebra Account & Tax.
The final session, Making the Most of Marketing and Social Media, will take place at 6 p.m. and feature Nolin Veillard of TRAK Kayaks, Debi Macleod of The Avenue Cakery & Bakeshoppe and Chris Mulders of Airdrie 360.
With no business taxes and a prime location, the City of Airdrie is a great place to do business, said Chamberlain.
“Our last business satisfaction survey showed 89 per cent of our local business community told us this is a good place to do business,” she said.
“Our business community really supports and helps each other.”
Chamberlain encourages anyone who wants to learn more about small business or make connections to attend the expo.
“I think this event is all about connecting businesses with local ideas, resources and professionals that are available to them right here in Airdrie,” she said.
“It is crucial to have a strong business community. They are the backbone of any community and we know our local businesses are the people who are our local employers and they support local groups and charities. They are really the heart and soul of our community.”
For more information about the expo or to register, visit www.abrponline.com