The slumping economy could prove to have some unique opportunities for entrepreneurs.
As part of the Alberta Jobs Plan, sessions are being held across the province to teach Albertans how to start their own businesses.
“There’s not really a lot of jobs in contracts administration in oil and gas anymore,” said Craig Martin.
Despite losing his job more than a year and a half ago, Martin said the layoff is an opportunity for him to re-evaluate his career.
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“So for me that was the opportunity of having the severance and the EI, a little breathing room to start taking a look around.”
Martin’s optimistic attitude was expressed throughout the room of prospective business owners Tuesday morning at the Alberta Works Centre in Calgary.
“It is a big jump and it is hard, but the thing is it’s better to start now then later,” said Devon Joseph, one of the prospective business owners taking part in the session.
“Have those tools in place so they can enter or re-enter the job market,” said Irfan Sabir, minister of human services.
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However for Darren Hobbs, unemployed since last March, these types of sessions could have come sooner.
“This is first thing the Alberta government has basically done for the economy… to offer some steps towards starting your own business and becoming self-employed,” said Hobbs.
Albertans seem to be already taking steps into their own hands. During the last three months of 2015, ATB Financial had a jump of about 30 per cent in loans to small and medium sized businesses, compared to the previous year.
A Calgary organization offering self-employment programs has also proved popular.
“We have a lot more interest in our programs. We have people cramming our workshops about information about starting a business,” said Frank Wolever, the business development coordinator with Momentum.
Wolever’s advice is to have a solid business plan before taking the leap.
“They should be clear on where the money’s going to come from. If it’s coming from family, friends, savings, lines of credit, or loans.”
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