By Mark Weber For the Advance
Community Futures East Parkland held its third annual Marketing Plan Challenge this past fall, and creators of the top three plans were recognized Dec. 12th in Stettler.
The Challenge ran from Sept. 11th to Nov. 20th.
Small to medium-sized businesses within the CFEP region were invited to participate, said Kate Gislason, economic development officer with Community Futures East Parkland.
After registering for the challenge, participants were able to attend one day of free training at the Lacombe Memorial Centre on Sept. 25th with presentations by Business Link and Edge Marketing and Design.
The participants then created a marketing plan for their businesses, which were submitted on Nov. 20th.
A panel of independent judges from Red Deer College, Catapult Entrepreneurs and Business Link selected the top three plans. This year’s winners included, in first place, Shannon Thibault of Dirt Road Pretty Clothing in Stettler who landed $5,000.
In second place for $2,000 was Nora Smith of Delburne’s Maude Edon.
In third place, for $1,000 was Carla and Dean Turnquist of Stettler’s Summit Psychology Inc.
Gislason noted that this year’s judges included Maureen Easton of Catapult Entrepreneurs, Robert Opoku of Red Deer College and Shay Bachelet of Business Link.
“Community Futures East Parkland has been assisting business owners for over 30 years – we believe that, when times get tough, our services are more important than ever,” said Gislason. “We’re focused on the needs of our clients, our local businesses and our region’s economy. In addition to working with entrepreneurs, we take a ‘big picture view’ of the health of the local businesses and economy and are drivers of regional innovation.
“We know that rural communities thrive when small businesses do, and vice versa.”
Community Futures East Parkland also provides business advice on topics ranging from business plans, financing, accounting, expansion and marketing plans to business expansion strategy and succession strategies.
Staff also offer business training via one-on-one sessions, online courses, and by partnering with other agencies who offer workshops and seminars, she noted.
“We offer projects such as The Marketing Plan Challenge which is open to anyone who does business in the CFEP region,” said Gislason.
“It is a competition designed to help build capacity for the SME’s in our region that may be struggling with the economic downturn and growing uncertainty of operating costs.”