Alberta's Jobs Plan built with small business owners

By Bruce Hinkley, MLA for Wetaskiwin-Camrose. First published by the Wetaskiwin Times Advertiser Weds. Oct. 19 2016.

Alberta has a lot to celebrate during Small Business Week - our small businesses are the best in Canada.

Small businesses in Alberta have a bigger economic impact per capita than small businesses anywhere else in the country.

They provide good paying jobs to hundreds-of-thousands of Albertans and they inject more than $100 billion dollars a year into our province.

Alberta‘s small business owners...: you can count on our Jobs Plan to have your back - because you helped us build it.

We want Alberta to continue to be Canada’s best place for entrepreneurs to do business. We are listening to small business leaders and providing the supports they’ve asked for.

They asked us for tax credits other provinces have enjoyed for decades, to restore training programs for new entrepreneurs and add an array of supports for established ones, to slash the small business tax and to increase their access to capital, and we listened.

When small businesses asked us for increased access to capital, our Jobs Plan increased ATB Financial’s borrowing limits by $1.5 billion and directed them to make it available to small businesses.

We also worked with the Business Development Bank of Canada to establish a $1 billion fund for new business loans, and to expand consulting and mentoring supports to businesses, so entrepreneurs can launch more startups, innovate and expand.

To support investment from venture capitalists, our Jobs Plan includes the new Alberta Investor Tax Credit that, starting next year, will offer a 30 per cent tax credit to investors who provide capital to Alberta small business in a variety of sectors, helping small businesses create more than 4000 new jobs.

To help more people with a new product or new idea start a business we reinstated funding to provide self-employment training for hundreds of Alberta entrepreneurs.

We also provided $10-million to expand small business incubators in the province.

Small business owners, especially people who have seen dramatic and prolonged oil price drops before, also told us the economy of the next 30 years will be very different than the last 30 years. They told us to help innovate, diversify and find new markets for their products and services.

We also doubled funding for an Alberta Innovates voucher program in our Jobs Plan that will help hundreds of small technology development businesses with marketing, planning, product development, testing and prototyping.

This program is widely popular, and the number of small businesses who have benefitted from it is expected to more than double this year.

We’ve added $75 million to the Alberta Enterprise Corporation to attract and invest in venture capital funds to finance early-stage technology companies.

If you’re a small business owner, looking to become a small business owner, or if you know someone who is - please visit (smallbusiness) alberta. ca /to learn more about the supports available to you or to share your thoughts and ideas for how we can keep moving Alberta forward together.

This week as we celebrate all that small businesses contribute to our home towns and neighbourhoods, I want all Alberta‘s small business owners to know: you can count on our Jobs Plan to have your back - because you helped us build it.

Working together we will continue to create new jobs and diversify our economy - an economy for the future.