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January 4, 2011

Olds College Creates a New Institute for Rural Businesses

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Olds College announced the creation of the Canadian Institute for Rural Entrepreneurship (CIRE) on December 16, 2010. The institute will provide educational and career development opportunities in a niche that is essentially untapped.

The presence of a healthy and growing small and medium-sized enterprise sector in rural communities is critical in helping them to retain human capital and maintain their viability. CIRE will initially focus on rapidly emerging sectors in the rural economy such as farm-fresh food sales, the production of high value food products and ingredients, and rural manufacturing enterprises.

“Many Albertans would be surprised to learn that over 55 percent of Alberta’s 400,000 business enterprises are in rural Alberta,” says Dr. Robert Wilson, Olds College vice president academic and research. “Increasingly, these businesses are growing outside of the traditional sectors that dominate the rural economy. In order to be successful these firms require extension support similar to what the agriculture production sector has enjoyed over the years.”

In addition to its own resources, Olds College will collaborate with important post-secondary and private-sector partnerships in the development of the institute.

“This represents another in a series of educational milestones in Olds College’s long history of supporting the agriculture and agri-food sectors through real life, hands-on learning opportunities,” says Dr. Tom Thompson, Olds College president. “We will now be able to provide enhanced learning opportunities and applied research services designed to support the small to medium sized enterprises in rural Alberta, and, quite frankly, Western Canada.”

For more information on CIRE, click here.

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