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Sexsmith offers reimbursement to micro-businesses

September 14, 2023

By: Austin Payeur, Community Reporter

For the first time, the Town of Sexsmith will be offering reimbursement grants for local entrepreneurs and micro-businesses.

Through the Micro Business Development Program, the town will reimburse up to 50 per cent of eligible capital costs for local businesses, to a maximum amount of $1,000.

Assistant chief administrative officer (CAO) Hasan Akhtar said the initiative came from discussions with the local economic development committee.

“The most effective way to do economic development is to generate growth from within,” said Akhtar.

“Small businesses play a huge role in the local economy. The idea is to help them first and help them grow so that they can move downtown and contribute to the sustainable economic growth for the town.”

In order to qualify for the grant, the business must have a license from the town, be operated by the owners with five or fewer employees, and must have been in operation for at least six months prior to Jan. 1, 2023.

The business must also be physically located in Sexsmith with a preference given to home-based businesses. It should not be a franchise or a subsidiary of a larger corporation, a chain, and not restricted to patrons over the age of 18.

“In our town, there are various kinds of small businesses; people doing home renovation, dispatch business then massage, therapist, accounting business, these are the typical common categories.

“They will be able to buy some tools or do some renovations or something tangible that would be helpful or be of use in their business.”

With a budget of $10,000, Akhtar said the town hopes to tap into funding from other organizations, such as Community Futures, to expand the budget in future years.

“It’s a small amount, but given the inflationary situation right now, it’s going to be of significant help to those very small businesses,” Akhtar said.

He also said he hopes to see 10 to 15 businesses make an application to the program.

“These are the people who will be staying here for the longer term and are going to move to the commercial areas of downtown areas of the town, creating even further growth,” he said.

“The other way of generating growth is to bring big businesses from outside that costs money. And those businesses are not local, so wherever they see opportunities that they can move to other places.

“In economic theory, the best way to generate economic growth is from within and through helping local entrepreneurs.”

Application forms are available at sexsmith.ca; applications will be accepted until Oct. 30.

The Town of Sexsmith will be offering reimbursement grants for local micro-businesses. (File photo)