Community Futures Lloydminster and Region (CFLR), a non-profit organization that helps small businesses get off the ground, has been officially recognized for its contribution to the community with an award from the organization’s Alberta branch.
The Excellence and Innovation award, which honours CFLR as a major contributor to the region’s rural economic diversification, was received from Community Futures Alberta at a ceremony Friday.
Scott Kovatch, general manager at CFLR, said that they make their contribution to the rural economy, “By getting involved in community economic development and small business loans.” Not only that, but Community Futures also provides a pathfinding service, so that every client gets to work with the right people.
“I think we’re receiving the award based on our participation in the community, specifically around one particular project.”
That project was the Regional Business Accelerator (RBA), which CFLR helped along from its inception to operation.
“The seminal part is that our grant put together the prospectus, or the business plan, that would formalize the Regional Business Accelerator process,” said Kovatch. “And in fact, (the grant) was instrumental in creating the surveys and the data collection that identified that there was an actual need for the Regional Business Accelerator.”
The RBA, which has now been operational for three and a half years, said Kovatch, was helped along not only by CFLR, but also the Lloydminster Chamber of Commerce and the Lloydminster Economic Development Corporation (LEDC).
Until last year, these founding members were active participants on the board, providing ongoing advice and support to the organization as it grew over the years. Now, CFLR and the RBA work off of each other to serve growing businesses with more efficiency than ever.
“We understand that there are certain strengths that they have and certain strengths that we have and we know that they’re helping businesses get started, just as we are,” said Kovatch. “We have a product that they don’t in that we provide small business loans up to $150,000, right? So therefore, it’s a perfect relationship.”
As for the reception of this award, which is considered for Community Futures organizations Alberta-wide, Kovatch and his team are very excited. But he also recognizes all efforts made by the many who helped make the RBA a successful project.
“We’re ecstatic about it and I can’t help but thank not only the other staff members here in the office and the board members that felt it was appropriate for us to get involved, but also the other partners,” said Kovatch, which include the chamber, the LEDC and other industry liaisons. Other initiatives that CFLR are involved in include Business Education Month, Small Business Week and the Employment Attraction and Retention Network (EARN). All things that speak to Kovatch on a personal level as a citizen of Lloydminster.
“I like to think that I’m a giver, but certainly I’m a strong believer in supporting the community that I live in,” said Kovatch. “And that’s one of the ways that I give back, is to make sure that, wherever possible, that those entrepreneurs get the right advice to start businesses and to strengthen the economy by creating more jobs.”