Despite swirling economic uncertainty, former CBC Dragons' Den investor Arlene Dickinson says now is "the perfect time to invest" in Alberta.

"It's 100 per cent worth the risk," said Dickinson.

Low oil prices, an unfavourable exchange rate and record high unemployment levels have understandably sparked fear and nervousness in many investors, she said. 

However, now is "the time for the smart investor and the courageous investor to look at Alberta as the opportunity that it represents, and it is a significant opportunity," she added.

"What we can't afford to do is have government bureaucracy slow everything down."

Needs to happen 'yesterday'

While in Calgary today, Economic Development  and Trade Minister Deron Bilous again trumpeted the provincial government's promises of economic diversification.

"Government's job is to take the hurdles out of the way of business," Dickinson said, adding that this kind of investment should have happened "yesterday."

Dickinson said she'd like to see the government focus that effort in Alberta's core industries, which include agriculture, energy and healthcare. 

"We need to focus on our strengths, not try and bring in brand new business," she said.

"This is real. We need to figure out a way that we can grow jobs."