Building a business can be daunting and overwhelming to tackle on your own, especially with previous restrictions and concerns based around the pandemic still looming in the air.  However, Community Futures Wild Rose (CFWR) CED Officer Wendy Gerbrandt is on hand to help businesses do just that. 

Gerbandt has recently won the 2022 Community Awards of Excellence for the Economic Development Renewal Project, for her efforts in creating and maintaining the Roseacre Tourism innovation challenge.

“We created an innovation challenge that came out of our strategic plan to help businesses build capacity and get them access to training to be able to diversify their business. Alberta Open Farm days was kind of the incubator to these concepts and ideas.”
Alberta Open Farms Days is a program designed to connect rural farmers involved in agri-tourism to their neighbours and visitors.  Gerbrandt has plenty of experience in creating programs like these as she explains.
“I'm the Community Economic Development Officer for seven years we were involved in various tourism and agricultural initiatives. We led the project team together to provide access to training and support to develop these unique experiences. It's a privilege meeting our entrepreneurs throughout the region and just really helping them identify key opportunities or ways to innovate to overcome and address some of the challenges that are limiting their ability to expand and further their business. That's what I find most rewarding.”
Gerbrant was overwhelmed with support when she joined CFWR, through that she was able to attain her Community Economic Development certification and support in expanding her post-secondary education while she has been working.
Gerbrant shared both her personal and professional goals at CFWR after winning her much deserved award.
“Personally I am going to be pursuing my Bachelor of Commerce marketing degree and I will be also expanding some tourism training and development just to allow me to further assist businesses and pursue some of my passions. In terms of the goals for Community Futures, our main focus is to foster the growth and development of businesses, but we will be continuing to place a focus on our hardest-hit businesses, particularly in areas of tourism and female entrepreneurship."

CFWR has recently announced a partnership with the Alberta Government and Alberta Women Entrepreneurs to support women entrepreneurs with small business loans.

The group Gerbrandt explained is now looking to assist the next generation, "We're also going to be launching our first high school. Entrepreneur program which is going to be called the Yeti program. So we will use the entrepreneur training initiative and we will be launching that this winter.” 
With more and more businesses struggling to find space to grow and expand or even stay alive in the current economic climate, it's good to know that people like Wendy Gerbrandt are working behind the scenes to help bring assistance to businesses in need, and it is great to see these individuals being recognized and awarded for their efforts. 


Send your news tips, story ideas, pictures, and videos to