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Success in the west: Alberta.

ALBERTA ENTREPRENEURS ARE MEETING the challenge global competition with enthusiasm, spirit and determination. In partnership with WD, they're capitalizing on business opportunities in international markets -- with impressive results.

WD has built its Alberta diversification strategy largely on the strengths of its prime resource sectors: oil and gas, forestry and agriculture. The department has been a partner in nearly 1,000 projects with investments of more than $200 million.

"Our partnerships are established at the call of the business community," says Gary Webster, assistant deputy minister for Alberta. "We work closely with the private sector, industry associations and other provincial and federal government organizations, acting as a catalyst to find ways to diversify the economy for the benefit of all Albertans."

Pratt & Whitney Canada Inc.'s aerospace project exemplifies WD's focus on cooperation. A joint effort between the company and three levels of government will result in the establishment of a major aerospace operation in Lethbridge. The $145-million facility will assemble and test a new family of turboshaft aircraft engines and manufacture other engine components. Slated to open in 1993, the operation is expected to generate up to 1,000 jobs and increase the province's export sales.

Another WD partner on the right track is PDS Railcar Services Corporation. WD helped it establish a new $8.6-million facility in Calgary for servicing, cleaning and repairing railway cars for North American companies. Its application of protective solventless sealants to the interiors of tank cars is a unique service, providing longer-life linings and a solution to environmental concerns.

Technology Transfer Incorporated (TTI) is also on the move. The company is marketing its new process for recovering silver particles from spent photo fixer solutions. Unique in North America, the process recycles the silver and the solution, resulting in significant cost savings and environmental benefits. TTI has distributorships in five Canadian cities, has sold technology rights to the U.S. and is now moving into the European market.

Alberta entrepreneurs are developing world-calibre products and services with the assistance of WD's Quality Assurance Assistance Program. Almost $7 million has been committed to 71 projects to help manufacturers meet stringent international quality control standards and secure more government and overseas contracts. Edmonton's Drive Products Inc. became a recent success story when it won a $524,000 sub-contract to supply component parts to the Diesel Division, General Motors of Canada Limited.

WD also has a collective partnership with members of the Alberta Food Processors Association. An export development plan was launched to introduce Alberta's food and beverage products into the global marketplace. Association president and CEO Jim Bell says: "Without WD support, most of these people wouldn't be able to handle the relatively prohibitive costs of these marketing initiatives, which we cost-share."

Whether it's new markets, services, products or technologies, Alberta pioneers are steadily diversifying the province's economy, says WD's Webster. "As our entrepreneurs continue to break new trails, we'll see more people take risks, spurring more investments and new ideas, and we'll be here to help them."

The Diversification Test

Every new project proposed to WD is put through a diversification test, which asks:

* Does the project introduce a new product to Western Canada?

* Does it take a western Canadian product or service into a new market?

* Will it introduce new technology to the West?

* Will it improve competitiveness throughout an industry?

* Does it replace an imported product with one produced in western Canada?

Diversification comes from every sector of the economy. Vision, expert planning and the energy of Western entrepreneurs has helped WD turn thousands of dreams into reality.

For more information about the WD program in Alberta, contact: (403) 495-4164 or call toll free: (403) 292-5382
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Title Annotation:Advertising Feature
Publication:Manitoba Business
Date:Jul 1, 1992
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