A newly formed consortium of business, governments, and service agencies called “Invest Southeast Alberta” is working for future success by ensuring new and existing businesses in southeastern Alberta have the support system they need to grow and succeed.   

The Invest Southeast Alberta partners are launching a project designed to identify and address barriers that might prevent business from growing or taking advantage of opportunity in the region. The Business Retention & Expansion and Workforce Development strategy (BREWD) spans Medicine Hat, Redcliff, Bow Island, Cypress County, and County of Forty Mile.  

The BREWD project builds upon the work of numerous partners and sets the stage for increased collaboration and growth in the future. The project is supported by a $122,500 budget and shared resources provided by contributions from each of the partners. The Province of Alberta is working in partnership with the Government of Canada to provide employment support programs and services.  

Invest Southeast Alberta is a consortium that will expand to include a host of other businesses and community stakeholders as this project and others move forward. It currently includes a Leadership Team encompassing the following: Aurora Cannabis; Alberta Labour and Immigration; Bow Island Apple Drugs; City Centre Development Agency; City of Medicine Hat; Community Futures Entre Corp; Dynamic Industrial Solutions; Hut 8 Mining; Medicine Hat College; MNP; Moxies; Mr. Lube; Red Hat Co-operative; Terralta; Tourism Medicine Hat; Verge Economic Development. 

 The first phase of the project starts with informing the business community about the benefits of this initiative and how to get involved, Success of this initiative is reliant on business being involved and having a voice. Public information sessions are scheduled for June 19th and 20th at the Cypress Club in Medicine Hat.  Anyone interested in participating should RSVP by Monday June 17 by calling Elizabeth Blair at 403.528.2824 or by email at info@InvestSoutheastAlberta.ca  

In the fall, business will be provided an opportunity to share their needs and goals by responding to a comprehensive survey that will help the group better understand the state of the current business environment.  As an example, regulation and development processes will be reviewed from a business point of view with the goal of minimizing barriers that might inadvertently restrict economic growth. 

Recognizing the potential impact of the hundreds of new jobs soon to be available in Medicine Hat and region, the project will include a particular focus on the labour market. That information will help the Invest Southeast Alberta leaders ensure action is taken to help residents take advantage of new jobs, or attract skilled workers to establish their families in the region. 

Gillian Digman, General Manager of Red Hat Co-op said, “I am very pleased to be involved in the 

initiative. Attracting and retaining a strong, productive workforce is critical in our business. Working 

collaboratively with other local employers on solutions to common labour challenges is something we support." 

“Education and training helps people put their talents to work here. The college needs to provide the right opportunities, and we’re looking forward to integration on our campuses and in the communities we serve,” said Kevin Shufflebotham, President, Medicine Hat College. 

Supporting business expansion and workforce development will create a ripple effect in the region.   

“Southeastern Alberta enjoys a strong economic foundation in resources and agriculture, coupled with increasing production and processing opportunities,” said Ted Clugston, Mayor City of Medicine Hat. “With the many assets we have we must also recognize the important role each of us plays in providing a strong competitive environment in which business can succeed and Invest Southeast Alberta is bringing these leaders to the table”.  

“Aurora is proud to support this initiative to ensure a healthy business and working environment in 

southeast Alberta.  As one of Medicine Hat’s largest prospective employers, participation in these 

initiatives is key to the continued success and rapid growth of industry in the region,” said David Howe, Manager Government and Municipal Affairs. 

“Hut 8/Bitfury has been a proud employer within the Medicine Hat region for over a year.  We are happy to be a part of the Invest Southeast Alberta Partnership and believe that understanding our labour market is critical to sustaining a healthy workforce,” said Andrew Kiguel, Chief Executive Officer of Hut 8. 

“This project will help to create a strengthened business environment; an environment where business can grow and thrive while creating the jobs for tomorrow”, said Sean Blewett, General Manager Entre- Corp.

“I’m truly excited and honoured to be a part of the great imitative.  I look forward to offering input that will assist in the development of a strategy for our business community and the City of MH,” Marcus Campbell, Terralta. 

"Business retention and expansion and workforce development is vital for the diversification of business in this region. We are pleased to support this project and look forward to results and opportunities that will come," said Curtis Gouw, Bow Island Apple Drugs.

“Verge Economic Development is pleased to support this   dynamic group to ensure the businesses within our area have a support system to grow, innovate and compete in the amazing corner of our province we call home. By bringing a focus on southeast Alberta we will take advantage of the opportunities unique to our region,” said Richard Oster, Chair Verge Economic Development.

“As the Chair of the Board of Directors for the City Center Development Agency as well as a Downtown business owner I am thrilled to be part of this team effort to not only help further the development of business in our Downtown core but throughout the city of Medicine Hat and region,” said Jeremy Silver, Chair CCDA.  

"Employment data can only tell us so much. Indeed, many questions remain. Why is the participation rate declining? What can we, as a community, do to prepare for the hundreds of new jobs coming to town through 2020? What impact will these new jobs have on the local labour market? The timing of an in- depth labour market study couldn’t be better, “ said Jon Sookocheff, Invest Medicine Hat. 

For more information on Invest Southeast Alberta and the BREWD project, visit 

www.investsoutheastalberta.ca   

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