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How does your business give back to the community?



Business owners are connecting to their communities in many ways. “We support many local groups and charities through donations, sponsorships, and volunteer hours. In addition, several members of our team are active on volunteer boards and committees for non-profits and industry associations. We also have a scholarship award we provide through the University of Alberta. Overall, we think it’s vitally important that businesses give back in this way.” — Chris Vilcsak, president and CEO of Solution 105 — solution105.com “Our staff are encouraged to be involved in the community by serving in official and unofficial volunteer roles. Each week, a charity chosen by the staff is featured for recognition and support. Corporately, Grant Thornton LLP donates its Christmas advertising budget to Santas Anonymous instead of sending cards and gifts to clients.” — Rick Martens, senior manager at Grant Thonton LLP — grantthornton.ca


Andrea Shandro, principal at Vital Partners Inc. (vitalpartnersinc.com) uses community investment dollars in two ways. “To help support the communities in which we operate, and to engage employees. As a team, we select themes for our donations. This year, our themes are community economic development, children, and health. From there, each employee selects an organization or cause that inspires them. We also volunteer at the board or committee level to the organizations which we support.” “Fully Managed founded an amazing program a few years back called Laptops for Africa where we helped save some older, but still functional laptops from the landfill by refurbishing them and sending them to Africa for use in schools and community organizations. We saw firsthand what a difference these laptops could make in the lives of people that otherwise would not have access to this technology. We continue to expand this program and are always looking for more laptops that are otherwise unloved.” — Sharleen Oborowsky, president of Fully Managed — fullymanaged.com “We’ve always said that it’s not about the money, but rather what we can do through having our business that matters most. We love sharing success with others so we came up with the idea of #YEGBizChat. With the help of our partner, we run a Twitter chat that brings in experts who share information, tips & ideas that will add value to other people’s businesses for free.” — Chan Rin, co-founder of Vivid Ribbon Photography & Design — vividribbon.ca

“In honour of our tenth anniversary, Box Clever is giving away a website to an Edmonton based charity. The giveaway includes a complete online presence package encompassing a responsive website with full design and development, a logo refresh, and content writing. We want to give back to the community that has supported our growth throughout the years, and show our appreciation to those who devote their time and energy to enrich the world around them.” — Amber Pelechaty, marketing coordinator at Box Clever — boxclever.ca “We encourage mental and physical wellness with our building partners and sub-trades, so we sponsor various sports teams to enable people to play without having to pay the associated fees. We also donate any usable material or appliances from our home demolitions to be reused by various organizations.” — Jamie Affleck, regional partner at Alair Homes — alairhomes.ca “Our company has been great for giving back to the community. One of the reasons is when you invest or bank local with ATB, our profits go back to supporting events in Alberta, such as the Fringe Festival, the Tour of Alberta, the ATB Comedy Festival, the list goes on. In addition, the money we earn gets spent here, employing people in Edmonton, and benefits Albertans. And because we support all these local initiatives, our team volunteers and contributes their time to those same events.” — Desmond Chow, senior financial advisor at ATB — is.atb.com/poitraschow “One of the great things about our business is that nothing goes to waste. At the end of each day, whatever we don’t sell goes into our freezer. This product is then donated to Hope Mission, Terra Centre, along with a few other organizations every week.” — Gerry Semler, general manager at Bon Ton Bakery — bonton.ca

These answers are in response to a question posed by Wellington Holbrook, executive vice-president of ATB Business. Here’s his take: “Corporate social responsibility has become a really important priority for many large corporations across Alberta but truth is, small and mid-sized businesses have been making this a a priority for generations. It doesn’t always have to be about money, when it comes to ways that small business can make a difference, it usually shows up in showing up. Contributing to community initiatives by being there is often the most important way entrepreneurs show their community and customers that they are committed to making a difference.”

Roundup: Recent posts from Capital Ideas members From “What a Trip to the Bank Can Teach Us About the Limits of CSR and Marketing” by Nikki Van Dusen, president at Nikcomm Inc.(nikcomm. ca): “Today, I had to go to banks: my own, and the one that holds my credit card. Let’s just say that the only thing good that came out of visiting the latter was an opportunity to illustrate that marketing and corporate social responsibility (CSR) have their limits in raising the profile of your brand.”

From “Survey Says: Busy Bosses Like a Newsletter” by Sharon A.M. MacLean, president at WorldGate Media (worldgatemedia.com): “Newsletters are hot again. Over the years, I’ve seen how newsletters helped nurture relationships with customers, motivate employees and, yes, make money for a company. Results are bigger than blowing your own horn over the latest new product on the shelf. Newsletters are the epicentre of what we’re all trying to do with social media—communicate and build a community.”

From “2 Critical Interview Techniques That Can Help You Land the Perfect Job” by Leanne Brownoff, at Leanne Brownoff Consulting (leannebrownoff.com): “I bet right now you know at least 5 people that are considering a change in employment. In fact you may be one of them. I have the opportunity to connect with people who are on both sides of the interview fence - so to speak. If you are dusting off the old resume and considering putting yourself out there in search of a better opportunity, there are a few things you should consider.”

Find the full posts through links at our LinkedIn group, Capital Ideas Alberta. We’ll curate a selection every Friday in our group. To bring your blog posts to our attention, email it to hello@ capitalideasedmonton.com or post to LinkedIn with the hashtag #CapitalIdeas





Connected Business Women Network K-Days Breakfast Includes hot breakfast, speakers, networking circles and opportunity to connect with like-minded business women. Where: Chateau Nova Hotel, 159 Airport Road When: 7:30 a.m. to 10:15 a.m. Admission: $50. Tickets at cbwnedmonton.com/events

Savvy Networking with Ease Learn how to boost your internal and external networking Where: Advanced Technology Centre (9650 20 Ave.) When: 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Admission: $75. Tickets at styleforsuccess.com/training

Ignite Edmonton Festival Explores intersections between culture, business, generations and teams Where: Shaw Conference Centre (9797 Jasper Ave.) Admission: $599. Tickets at igniteedmontonfestival.com

For more great events, visit capitalideasedmonton.com/edmontonevents.

“It is important, not just for our company, but for us as individuals to give back to the communities we serve in our business. We assess each opportunity to find the best way to contribute . Sometimes it is giving of our time and labor and sometimes we can offer a donation of our products. I especially love being involved in an event planning committee of a non-profit organization. It is a great opportunity to meet like-minded individuals who care about others.” — Julie Quantz-Kovac, Director of Oil City Signs & Promotions Ltd. — oilcitysigns.ca “We have a company strategy for community engagement. Every quarter, we bring in a charity to present to our team and others in our network about the work that they do. Our entire office also regularly volunteers at community events. We are part of local networks like the Good 100 Community in Edmonton. Our business is the business of philanthropy, so we want to show others how easy it is for companies to give back.” — Gena Rotstein, CEO of Dexterity Ventures Inc.— dexterityventures.com “By using my company medium to create events such as #dropyourgonch for the Bissell Center and starting #Dreams4Kids which raises money to equip kids to pursue their dream. We assist and execute with overall awareness. Community is our business.” — Ryan Holtz, CEO of Ryan Holtz Marketing & Consulting — ryanholtz.ca

COMMUNITY QUESTION: How do you use new technologies to improve your business? Technological advances can make your job easier, your workplace more efficient or even make your business more money, which is why Marnie Stretch, Top 100 ProAdvisor (thinkquickbooks.com), is curious to hear from you: How do you use new technologies to improve your business? You can answer the question in two ways: • Open today’s Capital Ideas email if you’re a member, or • Visit capitalideasedmonton.com We’ll publish the best answers, along with your business name and website address, on July 29. Join Marnie and other experts August 6 at Service Meetup (ServiceMeetup.com) to learn ways your service-based business can use new software to organize and compete.




You and your business can be featured here, too. Join the community at capitalideasedmonton.com