Latest News

Digital Service Squad News Release

Digital economy program coming to southern Alberta

OKOTOKS Alta, (Jan. 12, 2022) – As one of the agencies delivering the Alberta Digital Economy Program (DEP), Community Futures Highwood (CFH) is looking for local small businesses looking to advance in the digital economy free of charge. Whether you are a small business owner starting to move from ‘bricks and mortar’ to ‘clicks and mortar’ or seeking help with growing your online marketing outreach, CFH is available to assist you in transforming your digital presence.

The DEP initiative is a part of Alberta’s Economic Recovery Plan and is designed to support the recovery of small businesses by providing free support with digital marketing and e-commerce. By offering one-on-one digital assistance tailored to the unique needs of each business, CFH’s Digital Service Squad (DSS) is there to assist businesses thrive throughout and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pressures and demands on local small businesses during the last 22 months, have been unprecedented. They have not just taken an economic toll but have also affected business owners on a very personal level. From the constant need to pivot and adjust their business model to staffing challenges and an increasingly challenging business climate it takes a lot to still be in business. With that in mind it is wonderful to be able to offer a hand up to these vital local businesses by providing another potential income stream or enhancement of an existing one, without having to charge for the service and create further stress. We hope to be able to work with a wide range of businesses – from those that have no website/social media presence or e-commerce capability, to those who have a digital presence, but want to fine-tune it,” says CFH Executive Director, Ursula Sherwood.
Applications for the DEP are open and will remain open until March 2023. To be considered for the program, head to to sign up and complete the initial digital assessment or contact CFH for more information and to set up a meeting.

About Community Futures Highwood

Community Futures Highwood is a non-profit organization with over 30 years’ experience supporting and assisting rural entrepreneurs with business solutions and investment in community economic growth within our region. For more information, visit our website

Want to Do Business with Government?

You are invited to our Procurement series

Session SEVEN:

Want to do Business with Government?

Business Funding and Support Programs

Now that you have the information to work with the Government... Lets find the Funding and Support!

What do you need to do?

What do you need to know?

This webinar provides information on:

IDEaS Program – Kris Ruiter

The DND IDEaS program is a $1.6B program to solve defense and security challenges for Department of National Defense.

Innovation Canada – Karla Peterson

From funding to expert advice to driving new collaborations, our flagship programs and services are designed to help businesses innovate, create jobs, and grow Canada's economy.

Canadian Intellectual Property Office – Marnie Fyten

Learn: Roadmap process to trademarks and get all your questions answered

Cyber Secure Canada – Nigel Russell

Introduction to Cyber security Environment. Understanding in the key to success.

Canada Revenue Agency SR&ED – Sameet Wasson

The Scientific Research and Experimental Development (SR&ED) Program continues to support businesses conducting research and development in Canada,

Immigration, Refugees, Citizenship Canada – Leah Gabretensae

Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada facilitates the arrival of immigrants, provides protection to refugees, and offers programming to help newcomers settle in Canada.

News Release: Community Futures Highwood to Remain in Stockton Block Building

News Release
September 30, 2021

Community Futures Highwood to Remain in Stockton Block Building

Okotoks AB: After thoughtful consideration and recognizing the new market realities affecting businesses, amplified by the ongoing pandemic, the Community Futures Highwood (CFH) board have made the difficult decision not to move to the Arts and Learning Campus.

“The decision not to relocate was not an easy one, and certainly does not reflect the efforts of both the Town of Okotoks (Town) and CFH. The determination was made after reviewing the business case in light of the changing economic situation and ongoing impact of COVID-19,” said Ursula Sherwood, Executive Director of Community Futures Highwood.

“While we are disappointed that CFH is no longer able to be part of the Arts and Learning Campus, we completely understand and support their decision and wish them great success as they remain committed to serving our local business community,” said Jeff Greene, Town of Okotoks Community Growth & Sustainability Director. The Town will now seek tenants for the remaining space. For more information, please contact the Town at: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

CFH plays an integral role in supporting Okotoks and region businesses. The organization will continue to provide local entrepreneurs and businesses with access to programing, coaching and financing while remaining in the Stockton Block building. The building’s current lease between the Town and CFH will be renewed shortly.

Media contact:

Ursula Sherwood

Executive Director, Community Futures Highwood

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.       

403-995-4151 ext.4

Alberta Jobs Now Program

Alberta Jobs Now Program

Alberta Jobs Now program

Businesses and non-profits can apply for funding to reduce the cost of hiring and training Albertans for new jobs.

Apply Now


The Alberta Jobs Now program will provide up to $370 million to help private and non-profit businesses with job supports to get thousands of Albertans back to work.

Employers can apply for funding to offset the cost of hiring and training unemployed or underemployed Albertans in new or vacant positions.

This federal-provincial investment is the largest job training program in Alberta’s history. It will support our province’s recovery, help businesses re-open or grow their workforce, and give Albertans an opportunity to gain the skills they need in today’s job market.


Private sector businesses and non-profit organizations across all industries can apply for funding to reduce the costs of hiring and training unemployed or underemployed Albertans. Additional funding is available for hiring persons with disabilities.

Employers can:

  • apply for a grant to offset salary or training costs, or both, equal to:
    • 25% of a new hire’s salary up to $25,000 per employee
    • 37.5% of the new hire's salary up to $37,500 per employee with a disability
  • apply for up to 20 full-time new hires per intake period:
    • first intake: May 20 to August 31, 2021
    • second intake: September 15 to December 31, 2021
    • third intake: to be announced at a later date
  • choose to have payments issued in 1 or 2 payments:
    • 1 payment: up to 100% of the grant after new hires have been employed for 52 weeks
    • 2 payments:
      • half of the eligible grant paid when the new hires have been employed for 3 months
      • the other half paid when the new hires have been employed for 52 weeks

For more information, read the Alberta Jobs Now Program Application Guidelines

Support Local AB Directory

Why shop local?

Small businesses in Alberta make a big impact. Small businesses make up 95.5% of all the businesses in the province, supporting the economy in a big way and giving you plenty of local options to choose from. Shopping local is a great way to find unique businesses right in your own backyard and better still, supports hard-working entrepreneurs and small business owners in your community. 

Use the directory today and discover new Alberta businesses. 

Want to see your success story here?

Give us a call, send us an email, or drop in for a chat.

Contact Us

14 McRae Street
PO Box 1599
Okotoks, AB  T1S 1B5
P: 403-995-4151


Communities Served

Aldersyde, Black Diamond, Blackie, Carmangay, Cayley, De Winton, Foothills County, High River, Kananaskis Improvement District, Lomond, Longview, MD of Willow Creek, Millarville, Milo, Mossleigh, Nanton, Okotoks, Priddis, Turner Valley, Vulcan, and Vulcan County.