ATB opens doors to new, innovative support for Alberta entrepreneurs

CALGARY, May 3, 2016 /CNW/ - ATB Financial, Alberta's largest homegrown financial institution, has come up with a new way to further its support of the province's entrepreneurs. Already the leader in Alberta when it comes to small and mid-sized business lending, ATB is now introducing the ATB Entrepreneur Centre: a first-of-its-kind dedicated space designed specifically for entrepreneurs. It's a place business owners can meet to share ideas, garner support and learn from banking and business experts.

ATB's first Entrepreneur Centre has officially opened at its Uptown branch on Calgary's 17th Avenue.

"Being an entrepreneur can be tough. And sometimes it can be pretty lonely," said Wellington Holbrook, ATB's Executive Vice-President, Business & Agriculture. "We understand that owning your own business can be filled with moments of exhilaration, fear, success and challenges. We can stand beside entrepreneurs through those moments so they can operate their businesses with confidence."

ATB is the first financial institution in Alberta to offer a resource centre with dedicated support to help entrepreneurs launch successful businesses and take on whatever challenges they face. ATB will also partner with other business experts to offer free workshops to business owners—whether they are ATB customers or not. Of course, ATB will cover topics such as banking basics for entrepreneurs, understanding types of capital, managing cash flow, investing in commercial real estate and analyzing financial performance. But advice for entrepreneurs will go beyond banking, with additional workshops and sessions covering:

  • How can my business become a social enterprise?
  • Dealing with divorce as an entrepreneur
  • Crowdfunding – is it a fit for my business?
  • Social media 101
  • How can I learn from my failures to arrive at success?

A second ATB Entrepreneur Centre will open in Edmonton later this month with plans to expand to more locations in the not-too-distant future.

Meanwhile, ATB has completed its second-best fiscal year ever when it comes to loan authorizations to small and mid-sized business. In the fiscal year ending March 31, 2016, ATB authorized 14,742 loans worth a total of $3.1 billion. That helped ATB's outstanding loans grow by $696 million and pushed ATB's total small and mid-sized business loan portfolio to $7.4 billion.

ATB also approved 370 loans to entrepreneurs authorized through the Canada Small Business Financing Program (CSBFP) during the 2015-16 fiscal year, worth a total of $90.3 million—more than all other financial institutions in Alberta combined. It also represents an increase of 323 per cent over the amount of CSBLA loans ATB authorized in the previous year.

And ATB finished the year with 2,583 more business customers than in the previous year, meaning ATB now supports over 90,000 business customers in Alberta.

"Our increased wholesale borrowing agreement with the Province has helped us expand our support to Alberta's entrepreneurs," added Holbrook. "While we did notice a slowdown in loan activity in our fourth quarter, there's still good business happening in Alberta."

SOURCE ATB Financial

For further information: Barry Strader, Corporate Reporter, ATB Financial, 780-495-1343 (office); 780-886-4398 (mobile), bstrader@atb.com

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