SBI partners with ATB to create speaker series

The University of Lethbridge joined ATB Financial officials at the new Highlands Crossing branch in west Lethbridge on Friday, October 5, 2012 to announce ATB Financial's support of the newly-established ATB Financial Small Business Institute Speaker Series.

A $36,000 investment will help launch the series, which will see industry leaders and researchers visit communities throughout southern Alberta to share their knowledge, insights and experiences on topics related to small business.

"This gift demonstrates ATB Financial's commitment to education, research and the business communities of southern Alberta," says U of L Faculty of Management Dean Dr. Bob Ellis. "The new speaker series will help forge ties among the small business community, ATB Financial and the University of Lethbridge, resulting in strong partnerships that benefit southern Alberta business."

The widespread delivery of the speaker series is what makes the program so unique. Presentations from industry leaders and researchers will be made throughout southern Alberta, with a special focus on reaching rural communities.

"One of the things we love most at ATB Financial is being able to help small businesses succeed," says Rob Smith, Vice-President, ATB Financial South. "At ATB, we like to think we know Alberta and Albertans better than any other financial institution. With that in mind, it's exciting to partner with the U of L's Faculty of Management for the ATB Financial Small Business Institute Speakers Series. Having established small business leaders share their knowledge and experience with the rest of southern Alberta can only make our local economy stronger."

Led by Small Business Institute directors, Dr. M. Gordon Hunter and Dan Kazakoff, the series will be of interest to those currently involved or considering an investment or career in small business.

"The focus of our investigations is on privately held small businesses, varying from start-up businesses to those that are multi-generational," says Hunter. "The small business is the lifeblood of many rural communities and it's this unique focus of the Small Business Institute that makes its findings so relevant to the Lethbridge and southern Alberta area."

By further connecting with the rural communities that drive the southern Alberta economy, the SBI and students at the University of Lethbridge also realize a great benefit from this relationship.

"Our students will benefit from the exchange of ideas with the area's business people," says Kazakoff. "The whole notion is that with an institute, you get people together who might have a common interest in the subject area. By discussing ideas around the table with other individuals, you often find you get a greater depth of understanding. This series offers that opportunity for us to better connect with and understand the issues facing small business owners and operators in southern Alberta."