A Rimbey chamber of commerce initiative could be the spark that will ignite positive spinoffs for the farming and business community.
The chamber is looking at forming a resource board comprised of people passionate about their community and interested in moving rural and urban businesses forward. The board would meet monthly on line to exchange ideas and information and also talk to entrepreneurs about utilizing the expertise of an online facilitator, Jen Jenkins, who is trained in helping potential business owners and farmers reach their goals.
The board’s success would depend upon members keeping information confidential and working actively toward common goals and objectives.
Jenkins, who spoke at an information meeting Oct. 17 at the Rimbey Drop In Centre, has been hired through a partnership with the FarmOn Foundation and Green Hectares, a non-profit organization supporting rural development in Alberta.
Chamber president Jackie Stratton said the service Jenkins provides is important and she wants entrepreneurs to know it is available.
Yvonne Fizer, a business development representative from FarmOn Foundation, said facilitators such as Jenkins do not self-promote.
“We need to let local people know Jennifer exists and that she is a real person. And we want to help the rural economy. If you help your neighbor, that helps you. We want passionate people (on the resource board) who will listen and contribute if and when they can.”
In her presentation, Jenkins, who is a fifth generation rancher living south of Pincher Creek, said she is available for anyone who wants to start a business or is in a business and needs some advice.
“I will talk to anyone who wants support. It can be about agriculture or it can be a stay at home mom who just wants to sell Avon. I’m never going to pretend that I should know more about what you should do about your life than what you do,” she added, “but I will listen and offer one-on-one coaching.”
Jenkins, in her presentation, said businesses thrive when the components of product, marketing and financial management are established. She said entrepreneurs usually excel in one of these areas, but need a team to ascertain all areas are effective.
“All of us know that having a business takes a lot of hard work. The area you will be weak in is the one you don’t like to do.”
Jenkins helps entrepreneurs find qualified people and resources so their business plans can be effective.
Information from the FarmOn Foundation circulated at Wednesday’s meeting states (volunteers from) 300 communities have been trained in Enterprise Facilitation since 1985. Each year facilitators help between 100 to 200 entrepreneurs creating an average of eight to 10 new businesses resulting in 20 to 50 new jobs.
After five years of operation, the survival rate of businesses, assisted by Enterprise Facilitation, is about 80 per cent.
For more information about being part of a resource board contact Jackie at 403-843-2727.
To book an appointment with Jen go to http://meetme.so/jenjenkins