Packed arena
Prospects North wraps up today

Doug Ashbury
Northern News Services

NNSL (Sep 23/98) - The Prospects North trade show has everything from A to grizzly.

The grizzly bear is part of the GNWT's Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development Department's display.

The trade show -- which opened Monday afternoon and continues until 2 p.m. today at the Yellowknife Community Arena -- was sold out, Prospects North spokesperson Rita Bertolini said.

"This is a great opportunity to show individuals from the area our greatest resource, our wilderness," Norman Wells town councillor Elaine Somers said.

Somers is part of a Town of Norman Wells and Norman Wells and District Chamber of Commerce display.

The Norman Wells booth, which displays shots of the Norman Wells area, also includes a slide show of the Canol Heritage Trail, a spectacular 360-kilometre route that passes hoodoos, streams, rivers, wildlife and mountains.

Gordon Doran, regional sales manager with xxxTrade & Commerce magazine, said the Prospects North trade show is a chance to talk with Northerners.

Based in Winnipeg, xxxTrade and Commerce, which has been around for over 90 years, has published several economic reports on the NWT.

The publications are "often used for reference material because they include statistics," he said.

In all, there are 57 trade show exhibitors showcasing Northern businesses and businesses looking for business in the North.

"We are each in the initial stages of getting our businesses going," Emily Jackson of Yellowknife said.

Jackson is one of five women entrepreneurs who have joined forces to showcase their businesses together at one booth.

The others are Ann Timmins, Karen Wright-Fraser, Maureen Jaud and Sara Archer.

Jackson runs her own drug and alcohol counselling service while the others focus on art.

"There is very little support for women starting their own businesses," Jackson said.

Organizations like the Business Development Bank of Canada and Human Resources Development Canada have been helpful, but starting a small business can still be challenging, she added.

"We're all facing similar challenges."

As well as the trade show, Prospects North includes a wide range of business development topics.

Today's schedule starts early. After a Department of Indian Affairs and Northern Development breakfast wraps up at 8:30 a.m., workshops are under way at 9 a.m. at the Explorer.

Today's first morning session covers renewable resources, construction and energy.

Other topics are science and technology as well as regulatory environment.

The lunch guest speaker is scheduled to be a representative from BHP.

Afternoon sessions will include mining, oil and gas.

To wrap up Prospects North, Fraser Institute executive director Michael Walker will tackle the topic of economic freedom.

As of midday Monday, 320 delegates had registered for the 1998 edition of Prospects North.

Prospects North, held every three years in Yellowknife, is the North's premier business and investment conference.