Facility breaks new ground
Business training centre expected to boost local economy

by Jeff Colbourne
Northern News Services

NNSL (Mar 05/97) - Arviat business leaders, economic development officers, elders and well-wishers were all on hand last Tuesday for the grand opening of Arviat business development training centre.

"It's a one-stop shop for business training," said Graeme Dargo, regional superintendent of economic development who's department assisted in setting up the project.

The centre, already booked solid until late March, was busy that evening -- economic development officers from across the Keewatin were training, learning a new manual the centre recently put together. But training officers is just one aspect of the centre, Dargo explained.

There are many opportunities to market the facility. Small groups of 12-16 people can use the centre to hold meetings, workshops and seminars.

Interested groups should call the Arviat centre and book a time. Clients are guaranteed cheap rates thanks to the co-operation of local businesses such as the local bed and breakfast and Co-op hotel that offer discounted room rates for the centre.

Calm Air said it would also cut airfare rates by 40 per cent for those who book through the centre.

Economic spin-offs are expected in the community as the number of people who visit increases.

"I think there are a lot of possibilities with this centre," said Richard Provan, Arviat's business development officer and the training centre's manager.

Provan worked closely with three partners to get the centre up and running.

Sakku Investments Corporation, the hamlet of Arviat and the Department of Resources Wildlife and Economic Development cost-shared the project over the last two years to make it a reality today, said Provan.

Dargo and Provan said that without the partnership the centre would not have happened.

The initial plan for the centre was to have a place to train new Kivalliq EDOs, but the idea grew into something much bigger, Provan said. And as time goes by he anticipates it to get much bigger.

The centre is an abandoned Arctic College facility purchased by the hamlet and renovated.

Its intent is not to replace the local Arctic College campus, but to work alongside or co-operatively with the school.

The centre is opened to Inuit and non-Inuit across Nunavut who have an interest in business or commerce.