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'Ask an Expert' program expands to provide free expert legal advice to local businesses

By Contributor
June 6th, 2013

The Kootenay-Boundary region is a hotbed of entrepreneurial spirit, talent and creativity that continues to hatch innovative small businesses. While great ideas and enterprise are here in abundance, the legal steps required to translate ideas into a fully operational and functional businesses can be a major hurdle.

In September 2012, the “Ask An Expert” program kicked off, focusing initially on assisting Kootenay-Boundary entrepreneurs and start-ups with free legal advice sessions. 

The first three sessions held in Nelson, Trail and Castlegar were great successes.

The fourth session in the series will be held on Monday, June 17th in Nelson.

During the first three sessions, Leon Pigott of Pigott & Co provided valuable advice to eighteen businesses from sectors including digital media, IT, manufacturing, finance, construction, professional services, education and tourism/recreation.

The program itself is designed to provide a helping hand for small businesses, companies and start-ups that traditionally may not see their issues as being substantial enough to motivate them to pay a lawyer but are critical to their venture.

At the previous sessions in September and November 2012, and March 2013, Pigott  provided valuable advice on a range of issues including business structure, licensing and franchising agreements, incorporation, IP protection, confidentiality, financing and more.

 “It has been rewarding,” explained Pigott. “People often don’t know the extent of the resources and assistance for small businesses that are available. Right now, some of these ideas are in the business conception stage, but could turn into a great business and a great thing for the area. I see the Ask an Expert program as a long term investment, to grow the region and build on an existing startup community.”

Ask An Expert: LEGAL is a partnership project between the Kootenay Association for Science and Technology (KAST), Community Futures Central Kootenay, and Leon Pigott of Pigott & Co, designed to ease legal barriers for entrepreneurs and young companies by providing free access to expert advice.

“We deal with a host of immensely talented people who have excellent business ideas and are very good at what they do,” explained KAST’s Executive Director Kelvin Saldern.

“One of the common challenges we hear from start-ups is that the legal aspect of the business is not their strength and can be challenging. As an organization with a strong focus on assisting and accelerating entrepreneurial growth in the region, implementing the “Ask an Expert” program, starting with legal services, was a natural fit for KAST to help provide one more small boost to emerging local companies.”

Ask an Expert: Legal will be holding its next event in Nelson on Monday, June 17th at Community Futures Central Kootenay at 201-514 Vernon St.  Community Futures Central Kootenay, KAST and Pigott & Co are now putting out the call to small businesses to take advantage of the opportunity for a free half hour with an experienced lawyer to ask the questions that may have been holding them back and get the advice they need to move forward successfully.

To book an appointment for the next Ask an Expert session, register in advance by calling Community Futures Central Kootenay office at 250-352-1933 or email ] Janeen Mather no later than Thursday, June 13th.]

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