During a regular meeting on May 3, Airdrie City council voted to proclaim May 9 to 15 as Economic Development Week, aimed at recognizing the hard work and contributions made by the municipality's Economic Development department.
“In 2021, Economic Development Week takes on even greater importance as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact businesses and the economy,” a press release from the City stated. “The work of economic developers is vital to community recovery and resiliency.”
According to the press release, Airdrie Economic Development works in collaboration with other City departments and community organizations, including the Airdrie Chamber of Commerce, Bow Valley College, Community Futures Centre West, Rockyview & Wheatland Employment Services and Career Leap, among others.
“Economic Development Week is an opportunity to acknowledge the important role businesses play in fuelling Airdrie’s economy and contributing to our quality of life,” said team lead with Airdrie Economic Development, Sara Chamberlain. “Businesses provide our community with jobs and products and services, and they support our volunteer and non-profit sector. It has been an incredibly challenging year for businesses and its vital that we support them now and into recovery.”
The week, according to the release, was created by the International Economic Development Council in 2016 to recognize the unique role economic development plays in creating vibrant communities with strong economies.
Throughout the pandemic, the department has started several initiatives to help businesses weather the COVID-19 storm. Programs include the Right for Your Business Voucher Program, which offers Airdrie-based businesses that have been negatively impacted by the pandemic up to $2,000 in assistance to hire professionals to help. To date, more than 60 local businesses have used the program.
Additionally, the department also started the Things That Are Open website, which launched in December 2020. The site assists businesses with marketing efforts while restrictions from the Province are in place.
“We believe it is more important than ever to acknowledge this week,” Chamberlain said during the May 3 council meeting. “We see the week as a way to acknowledge how difficult the past year has been and highlight the importance of programs and services that support our businesses.”
Mayor Peter Brown said he and council appreciate all the efforts the department puts forward.
“The nice part about getting out in the community, is I do hear a lot of great things about you and your staff,” he said. “Keep up the awesome work.”