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January 2006 - Issue 44
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In this Issue

High Tech 'Connect' to Guest Advisor Program

Accessing the expertise of consultants, lawyers, accountants, financial representatives, and e-business experts just got easier!

Thanks to the video-conferencing capability of the Entrepreneurship Learning Centre Network (ELC), you can now meet with one of these professionals in the "Guest Advisor Program", just as if you were there in person!

In our first pilot, Business Coaching Guest Advisors, Patty Breton of Breton Consulting Services Ltd. (left) and Randal Adcock of Biopolis Inc. spoke with Mike Osborn, General Manager and staff of the Mackenzie Economic Development Corporation in High Level, Alberta. Both Patty and Randal quickly familiarized themselves to the new technology, and look forward to using it as they respond to business questions from Alberta's entrepreneurs.

The next season for the program begins on January 30, 2006, with a variety of areas of expertise available from Monday to Friday, 12:00 noon to 4:00 p.m. We look forward to exploring the use of video conferencing with ELC sites to further extend this valuable service to clients across Alberta. To find the ELC site closest to you, visit www.elcnetwork.ca.

More information on the Guest Advisor Program is available here.

Alberta's 2005-06 VenturePrize Business Plan Competition

The Business Link and a number of other ELC sites located throughout the province provided a unique opportunity for participation in the Venture Prize Seminar Series. The Series gave participants access to training on a variety of business topics that will ultimately assist them in the completion of their business plans. The seminar leaders and metro Edmonton participants attended at The Business Link while those in the other ELC sites were able to attend and participate in the various seminars via video conference.

This competition is designed for individuals, companies, faculty and students of post secondary institutions who have high-growth business ideas. Create the ultimate business plan and you could win. The two award categories are the Fast-Growth Enterprise category offering over $155,000 in award prizes and the Entrepreneurial KickStart category with $19,000 in cash and in-kind services.

The deadline for submitting a business plan is January 31, 2006.

For more details go to the Venture Prize website.

Incentives for your Research & Development Work

Is your company conducting R&D in Canada to develop new, improved, or technologically advanced products of processes?

If so, this work may qualify for a refund and/or a reduction in taxes payable under the Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) Program.

The SR&ED program is Canada's largest single source of federal government support for industrial R&D.

What tax incentives are available?

The federal program can provide a refund and/or a reduction of taxes payable of up to 35 cents for every dollar of eligible R&D expenses, including capital SR&ED expenses.

Who qualifies?

You must be a corporation, a proprietorship, a trust, or a partnership carrying on a business in Canada.

Where can I get more information?

For more information on the SR&ED program, visit this website at www.cra.gc.ca/sred.

You can also contact one of the Alberta CRA tax services offices listed below:
Edmonton (780) 495-2595
Calgary (403) 691-5890

Exporting Resource at The Business Link Library

For any Canadian engaged in exporting or importing, a key reference need is the customs tariff schedule known as the Harmonized System, which lists descriptive classifications and corresponding classification numbers for all products. Looking up the correct product classification information is essential for completing customs documentation and calculating applicable tariffs, as well as for researching international trade data.

The Business Link Library now has the most recent edition of the complete HS schedule available, along with its table of contents and general rules for interpretation, bound in a handy three volume set along with other useful items for trade reference. Included in the set is a glossary of international trade terms; a list of U.S. ports of entry, a list of existing trade agreements, world treaty organizations and alliances; a list of countries and their applicable tariff agreements with Canada; and text of the Canada Customs Tariff Act.

Whether you’re shipping it out or shipping it in, we now offer one stop where you can quickly look up any product under the sun... to help send it on its way! Ask at The Business Link Library to see the HS Codes and Customs Guide for Canada.


Export Conference -
May 9th and 10th, 2006

Don't miss THE exporting event of 2006: Beyond Borders II – Your Passport to Exporting.

This two-day conference will focus on the issues exporters in Alberta face and is geared towards new exporters, firms looking to diversify export markets, and those companies considering exporting for the first time.

Stay tuned for more details...

Meet the Link

Ronelo Aromin

Ronelo Aromin is the newest business officer at The Business Link. He is a recent graduate of the Bachelor of Commerce program at the University of Alberta.

He comes to The Business Link with experience in starting up and running his own small business.

Ronelo's areas of business interest include: family business, franchising, marketing, and e-business.

You can contact Ronelo at The Business Link by calling our Information Centre at 422-7722, or by Email at aromin.ronelo@
cbsc.ic.gc.ca
.

Talk to Us!

Need assistance in finding information on our website? Check out our web/voice support service, "Talk to Us".

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Welcome to a new issue of E-News! from The Business Link.

Whether this is your first time receiving E-News!, or you've been with us from the first issue, we hope you will enjoy this quick monthly e-newsletter. Our goal is to keep you informed of upcoming events and services at The Business Link and other items of interest to Alberta's small business community.


Upcoming Events

 

Quick to Learn, Quick to Use...

The Business Link's
Small Business Seminars and Brown Bag Presentations
Spring 2006 Season

The Spring 2006 Season of Small Business Seminars and Brown Bag Presentations will launch February 7, 2006. In light of our upcoming 10th anniversary, we have brought back some of the best presentations over the last few years and combined them with new exciting topics that address the current needs of today's entrepreneurs. Here is just some of what's to come:

* Profit Through Word of Mouth
* The Art of Negotiation
* Tips for Tenants
* E-mail Marketing for Small Business
* T4 Year End Preparation
* Accounts Receivable Collection
* Shipping Your Goods to the US and Overseas

Also new this season, we are going to video conference ALL of our Brown Bag Presentations to entrepreneurs across Alberta through the Entrepreneurship Learning Centre (ELC) Network. Check out www.elcnetwork.ca for your nearest ELC location and the video conferenced events in your community.

The schedule of seminars and brown bag presentations will be available online at www.canadabusiness.ab.ca/events in early January.

If you would like a brochure sent to you in January, please contact The Business Link at 1-800-272-9675 and ask to be put on the mailing list.

 

Aboriginal Small Business Stories
to be told…

Inspiration to unfold…

Whether you are an Aboriginal business owner, aspiring entrepreneur, or service provider, there is much to learn from the experiences of others. Join us at these special Networking Sessions to hear stories of challenges and successes from Aboriginal business leaders, risk takers and role models in our community.


Dates/Times:
Wednesday, January 11, 2006 - 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. - Calgary

Thursday, February 2, 2006 - 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. - Edmonton

Location:
Calgary: The Coast Plaza Hotel and Conference Centre, 1316 33rd Street NE
Edmonton: The Coast Edmonton Plaza Hotel, 10155 - 105 Street

Cost:
FREE. Food and refreshments to be provided.

Please pre-register by January 5th for our Calgary event and by January 30th for our Edmonton event!

To register, please contact Terry Foureyes, Project Assistant by phone at 1-800-272-9675 or email at absnalberta@cbsc.ic.gc.ca.


 

Monthly Networking Opportunities at The Business Link - January Networking Event

How would you like to ring in the New Year at one of The Business Link's FREE Monthly Networking Events?

Join us at our January Networking Event. There will be an educational presentation, entrepreneur sharing time, time to meet and greet other entrepreneurs, and exchange business cards.

There will also be a special prize draw for all participants who 'bring a friend with them'.

Please join us on Wednesday, January 18 from 2:30 to 4:00 p.m.

Cost:
Free
*No membership required*
Where:
The Business Link
100 - 10237 104 Street
Edmonton, Alberta


For more information, contact Lisa Iwanyk by phone at
780-422-7738, 1-800-272-9675 or by e-mail at
iwanyk.lisa@cbsc.ic.gc.ca.

 


 

Quality Council of Alberta Brown Bag Sessions

The Quality Council of Alberta (QCA) invites you to attend their Brown Bag Sessions at The Business Link in Edmonton. This year’s theme will be “Following the Roadmap to Excellence”.

Facilitated by Certified Excellence Professionals with the National Quality Institute, these free information sessions will be held live at The Business Link in Edmonton, and video-conferenced to other sites throughout Alberta.

The sessions are free to members of the Quality Council of Alberta and non-members.

"Customer Focus" will be held at The Business Link in Edmonton on Friday, January 20 from 12:00 noon to 1:00 p.m. The session will be presented by Dawn Ringrose, Dawn Ringrose & Associates Inc.

Seating is limited and allocated on a first come - first served basis.

For more information and to register for these sessions, contact Ann Beaque at the Quality Council of Alberta at 780-436-5609, 1-800-224-0848 or by e-mail at: abeaque@telusplanet.net.

 


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Specialized Services

The Entrepreneurship Learning Centre

 

Under the banner of the Entrepreneurship Learning Centre (ELC), an Alberta Video Conference Network has been established to provide business information and interactive training opportunities to Alberta's small business community.

This network is comprised of 23 (and growing) uniquely equipped business development centres that use IP-based video conferencing equipment to educate and communicate with entrepreneurs across Alberta. Video conferencing allows you to participate as you would in any meeting or training session in real time.

You can ask questions, provide feedback, or enter into discussion with other participants in real time. Presenters are able to interact with all locations and use a PowerPoint presentation as they would in any meeting or presentation. It is great because the participants are able to view two screens; one with the presenter and the other with the presentation.

If you are interested in knowing more about video conferencing, please visit us at www.elcnetwork.ca or call Stephanie Sarjas at The Business Link at 1-800-272-9675 or email at sarjas.stephanie@cbsc.ic.gc.ca.



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Business Article


 

Important Changes for Employers to Note for 2006

Employment Insurance Premium Rate Reduction

Employment Insurance (EI) premiums will be reduced for employers and employees in 2006. The new premium rate for employers will be $2.62 per $100 insurable earnings, a reduction of $0.11. The new rate for employees will be $1.87 per $100 insurable earnings, a reduction of $0.08.

Refer to www.fin.gc.ca/news05/ 05-075e.html for more information.

Year's Maximum Pension Earnings (YMPE) for 2006 Increases

Effective January 1, 2006, the YMPE rate has been increased to $42,100. The basic exemption amount for 2006 remains unchanged at $3,500.

The Canada Pension Plan (CPP) contribution rates for 2006 also remain unchanged at:

- 4.95% for employee and employer and
- 9.9% for self-employed

The maximum contribution to the Canada Pension Plan will be increased to:

- $1,910 for employer and employee; and
- $3,821.40 for self-employed

See www.cra-arc.gc.ca/newsroom/releases/2005
/nov/nr051102-e.html
for details.

WCB Premiums Rate in Alberta Decreases 14.2% on January 1, 2006

Over 93% of employers in Alberta will reap the benefits of the WCB premium rate decrease on January 1, 2006. Positive factors which lead to the welcomed premium reduction included:

- Average claim expected to reduce from 40.1 days in 2004 to 34.4 days in 2005
- Lost time claim rate to reduce from 2.6 injuries per 100 workers in 2004 to 2.5 per 100 workers in 2005; and
- The required WCB funding levels being achieved because of the development of a new strategy.

Thus, the average premium rate will drop from $1.83 to $1.57 per $100 insurable earnings in 2006.

For premiums rates pertaining to your specific industry sector, check www.wcb.ab.ca/pdfs/06_announce.pdf.



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Feature Web Site

 

 

National Cancer Institute’s Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines
www.usability.gov/guidelines


What are the guidelines you should be following when building an effective website?

With experience in the design and management of a number of websites incorporating good design and usability, the National Cancer Institute created its Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines website to provide guidelines on how to create a well designed and easy to use website.

The site is very simple to use with guidelines on topics such as: design process, design considerations, content/content organization, titles/headers, page length, page layout, font/text size, reading and scanning, links, graphics and navigation. Each guideline has a simple written explanation and is accompanied by one or more clear graphic examples.

The site has a "Strength of the Evidence" rating system allowing users to quickly determine the importance of a particular guideline, as well there is a source document supporting the validity of each guideline. To make it even more convenient if anything on this webpage eludes you, there is a “How to Use This Site” section as well as a “Dictionary” link.




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Regional Access Site in the Spotlight


 

 

The Business Link works in partnership with over 30 Regional Access Sites located throughout the province, plus the Calgary Business Information Centre (CBIC), to provide information and resources to Alberta entrepreneurs. To find the closest Regional Access Site in your area, visit our web site at: www.canadabusiness.ab.ca/tbl.cfm?fn=regional.

Crowsnest Pass Business Development Corporation provides entrepreneurs in its communities of Bellevue, Blairmore, Coleman,
Frank, Hillcrest Mines, and Mtn. Crowsnest Pass with a variety of services. These services include financial assistance, technical services, and the Self Employment Program.

The business loan programs offered through the CPBDC include the Standard Loan Fund, the Western Youth Entrepreneur Program, and the Entrepreneurs with Disabilities Loan Fund. In terms of technical services, the CPBDC provides new venture and business plan analysis, as well as resources for business research purposes. The Self Employment Program which is offered by the CPBDC and other organizations, assists individuals receiving Employment Assistance to learn how to run their own business.

Crowsnest Pass Business Development Corporation
PO Box 818
12501-20 Avenue
Blairmore, AB T0K 0E0
Tel: 403-562-8858
Fax: 403-562-7252
www.telusplanet.net/public/cnpbdc/cnpbdc.htm
E-mail: cnpbdc@telusplanet.net

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The Business Link Business Service Centre
100-10237 104 Street NW Edmonton, AB T5J 1B1
Business Info Line: 780-422-7722 or 1-800-272-9675
Fax: 780-422-0055