Innovation, Trade and Rural Development
April 25, 2007

Expatriates Return to Their Roots to Start Business

Government funding for small and medium-sized businesses has contributed to bringing an Alberta couple back to their roots. Alex Wilton and his wife Margaret moved home from Alberta to start a business in western Newfoundland with a $100,000 loan from the provincial government�s Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Fund. The couple sold their business in Fort McMurray and will open a Food Service and Lube Shop in Howley.

"While the Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development does not normally involve itself in retail businesses, in rural communities with limited services we accept proposals with a clear business case that address local market and service deficiencies," said the Honourable Trevor Taylor, Minister of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development. "By increasing the local infrastructure, Howley will be in a better position to attract tourists in summer and winter."

Howley is home to approximately 240 people and has 450 cabins and 100 trailers that in summer time see the population double. With its proximity to the snowmobile hub of Deer lake, Howley is also a destination point for snowmobilers in the winter months. While there is one other food business in the community, there is no automotive lubrication facility.

"The closest lube shop is 44 kilometres away," said Alex Wilton, who operated W.M. Equipment in Fort McMurray for 15 years. "Given the cost of gasoline, we will be helping people save money. With so many people leaving the province and going out west, I�m pleased we are able to return to rural Newfoundland and Labrador and provide a useful service."

The Small and Medium-sized Enterprise Fund provides term loans and equity investments to small and medium-sized businesses in strategic growth sectors. Special emphasis is given to value-added manufacturing, information technology, aquaculture, bio-technology, marine services, agrifoods and tourism, where local competitive impact is not an issue. The fund will also target businesses which have export potential and need assistance to enter or expand in external markets.


Media contact
Lynn Evans
Director of Communications
Department of Innovation, Trade and Rural Development
709-729-4570, 690-6290

2007 04 25                                                     12:20 p.m.


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