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NEWS RELEASE · 21st May 2010
Ministry of Tech & Eco Dvlp.
The Government of Canada and Province of British Columbia have announced funding for Small Business BC to enhance accessibility to the resources available to businesses.

"Our government is committed to strengthening B.C.'s small- and medium-sized businesses, and this project will help them access the resources they need to expand and prosper," said the Honourable Jim Abbott, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of International Cooperation and Member of Parliament for Kootenay-Columbia, on behalf of the Honourable Lynne Yelich, Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification.

"Helping people connect through interactive technology strengthens partnerships and builds on local capacity," said Kootenay East MLA Bill Bennett on behalf of Minister of Small Business, Technology and Economic Development, Iain Black. "We're ensuring that B.C. entrepreneurs in rural and smaller communities are well served, with access to information and training that will help them expand and succeed."

Funding will allow Small Business BC to improve access to and awareness of the services available to help small business. Education and training in rural B.C. is more accessible through the use of video-conference facilities, providing innovative training opportunities by better linking instructors with participants and encouraging greater learning interaction.

The Government of Canada and the Province of British Columbia are delivering the $233,500 investment through the Western Economic Partnership Agreement (WEPA). This is in addition to previous assistance to support infrastructure of 47 video-conferencing sites in B.C. communities.

"Small businesses are a diverse community, and this strengthens our capability to reach out, making more opportunities available with 'just in time' information," said Small Business BC CEO George Hunter. "Providing effective supports through relevant, timely information products and training increases the chances for profitability and long-term success."

Small Business BC is British Columbia's premiere resource centre for small- business products and services. The organization and its various partners - FrontCounter BC, Small Business Victoria, the Women's Enterprise Centre, Community Futures, and the BC Chamber of Commerce - have played a leading role in delivering a provincewide video conference network.

Since 2006, the Small Business BC Education Centre has delivered over 1,000 video conference seminars and workshops to more than 13,000 seminar registrants. Small business owners throughout rural B.C. have accessed a variety of seminar topics ranging from start up information to marketing.

Under the Western Economic Partnership Agreement, both Canada and B.C. are contributing $25 million each over four years to strengthen economic activity and improve quality of life in western Canadian communities