BY KALISHA MENDONSA
Businesses are being encouraged to work together and utilize available funding through the Echo Lacombe Business Partnership Fund.
The purpose of the program is to encourage businesses to work together for initiatives and activities that increase their traffic and draw in potential clients.
The Fund offers $2,500 annually to assist with promotions, events or beautification projects. Participating groups must consist of three businesses or more.
Guy Lapointe, Community and Economic Development Manager with the City, said it’s a great way for businesses to work together towards promoting a viable, friendly and welcoming local economy.
“The idea is to get businesses to collaborate and work together. The fund has been around for almost two years, and people really began to see the applications of it last year,” he said.
“The idea is getting three businesses or more to come together on an advertising opportunity, an event-based initiative or a beautification project.”
The grant is administered through Echo Lacombe, and provides a matching amount of up to $500 for eligible applicants.
Projects must meet the criteria of: a promotional activity (eg. customer appreciation event or grand opening), an event (either stand-alone or part of a community festival or celebration) or a beautification project that enhances curb appeal.
For example, owners along Main Street could come together during the upcoming construction and apply for funding to help support advertising to customers of hours and availability through construction.
He said the funds would also be of great use as the summer months roll through, because businesses can hold special event nights, street shopping or add some light decoration such as lights or flowers outside of their businesses.
“It would be great if, for example, people wanted to host a late-night shopping event to try to drive people downtown – they could promote that together. That way, people aren’t just coming in for the one business, but the groups are really helping to drive each other’s business as well. That’s a great use for the grant.”
Another example Lapointe gave is to encourage businesses to purchase lights to string up during Light Up the Night, or to offer a street-sale during Lacombe Days.
“Echo is always looking for new initiatives. People can access the Community Fund, as well. If people have ideas or programs that they’d like to see happening, Echo is there as a vehicle to make those things happen,” Lapointe said.
“I would encourage people to seek Echo out, but the easiest way to get involved is to just sign up for Echo Energy. That way, every month a portion of your bill is going towards community projects.”
All submission guidelines are available online at echolacombe.ca/business-partnership-fund. The fund is able to be accessed year-round. Projects must be completed within a three-month time period from the time the funds are granted.
For more information, head to echolacombe.ca or call Lapointe at 403-782-1263.