Credit Unions of Alberta and connectFirst credit union launch Women in Ag Grant to help women grow their ag dreams
Two Alberta women will receive $10,000 each for their ag businesses
CALGARY, AB, June 22, 2023 /CNW/ – Credit Unions of Alberta, which represents the 13 credit unions across the province, has launched a grant to support Alberta women working in ag. The grant, developed in partnership with connectFirst credit union, provides an opportunity for two Alberta-based women who currently, or plan to, work in ag to receive $10,000 in funding to help grow their ag dreams.
Research has shown that women working in the agriculture industry can face barriers to entry, such as insufficient access to capital and financing, so the grant aims to bolster this underserved group.
“Credit unions understand the value of agriculture to Alberta’s economy and to the communities they operate in,” said Matea Maric, Director of Innovation and Government Relations at Alberta Central (the central banking facility and trade association for Alberta’s credit unions) and one of the individuals behind the grant. “We also know how hard it is to build or grow an ag business, especially for women, so this grant can help women working in ag in a tangible way.”
The Women in Ag grant represents a collaborative effort between Credit Unions of Alberta and connectFirst credit union. connectFirst is proud to support more than 1 200 agriculture members across Central and Southern Alberta. These members represent 55 per cent of connectFirst’s commercial deposit base. Most of connectFirst’s ag advisor team are also producers, so they have a deep understanding for their members’ business needs and the challenges that they face. connectFirst used their significant ag business expertise to help develop the grant proposal, including the application questions and judging criteria, to ensure the program represents the intricacies of being a woman in the industry.
Coming from a long line of ag producers and having been an ag producer herself, Mel Hermanson, Syndicate Portfolio Manager at connectFirst, was instrumental in bringing the grant to life.
“Agriculture is the foundation of our province and was often at the heart of the beginnings of many Alberta credit unions. According to a Stats Canada report, for the first time in 30 years, the number of female Canadian farm operators is on the rise. In building this grant with Credit Unions of Alberta, we’re working to ensure that Alberta’s credit unions have the most impact on our rural communities and support women in ag,” says Hermanson. “At connectFirst, we understand how important the ag sector is to our members, not only those directly in the industry, but those who rely on farmers and producers for their products. We’re thrilled to support a great cooperative initiative that will assist Alberta’s ag sector and credit union members.”
Applicants must explore the issues facing women in agriculture today and how their current or proposed business will support the ag industry of the future to be considered for one of two $10,000 grants. The deadline to apply is July 5th, when applications will be reviewed by two ag business experts from the credit union system who will select the two recipients.
For more information about the Women in Ag Grant, including rules and eligibility requirements, please visit: albertacreditunions.com/women-in-ag-grant/
About Credit Unions of Alberta
Credit Unions of Alberta represents the 13 credit unions across the province with more than 3,300 employees across 200 branches serving 622,000 members. Credit unions are community-based cooperative organizations that offer the same variety of products and services as other financial institutions plus a network of surcharge-free ATMs and innovative online banking platforms and mobile apps. But unlike other financial institutions, credit unions are owned and operated by members who have a say in how they operate and receive money back in the form of annual returns. Visit: albertacreditunions.com
connectFirst Credit Union, one of the largest and most successful credit unions in Canada, is a full-service financial institution with over $7 billion in assets under administration. connectFirst employs 750 Albertans who provide a wide range of financial products and advice in more than 40 communities across central and southern Alberta. It serves over 125,000 members through a community-focused approach to banking.
SOURCE Connect First Credit Union
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