Reaching new markets
Video conference links 54 participants

Glen Korstrom
Northern News Services

NNSL (Oct 13/99) - Northern businesses are expanding their horizons through the magic of video technology.

The Department of Resources, Wildlife and Economic Development and Alberta Economic Development are co-operating on a series of video-conferencing seminars to try to improve business opportunities.

The most recent video conference, called Pathways: Shipping to New Markets, was held on Sept. 21 and involved several Northern participants including Artisan Press, Canada North Projects, the Housing Corporation, the NWT Development Corporation and Braden Burry Expediting among others.

There was a total of 54 participants from seven cities: Lethbridge, Medicine Hat, Calgary, Red Deer, Edmonton, Grande Prairie and Yellowknife.

"I found it a very worthwhile forum," said Braden Burry Expediting president, Gord Stewart, in his Yellowknife office.

"You don't want to be attending all of them but it can be very beneficial for many businesses in the North."

Stewart was one of three presenters during the video conference and focused on moving materials efficiently by rail, sea, air and road.

"Our (presentation) was on the value of identifying what you want to ship with which mode of transportation," he said.

"You don't want to ship envelopes in a rail car."

He said one of the points he tried to cover in his presentation was that small manufacturers should focus on manufacturing their product and that they should find knowledge or information brokers like BBE who specialize in arranging the logistics of getting the material to market.

Since the video conference, Stewart said company representatives have had conversations with businesses in Alberta and lined up meetings in Grande Prairie during the recent trade mission to Northern Alberta and B.C.

The next video conference is not scheduled until March 1 with the theme being dispute resolution across international boundaries.

"The department is open to have more video conferences if there's interest in the business community," said Bonita Melvin, the manager of business incentives with the trade and investment division of RWED.

"It's based on demand and it's a tremendous medium."

She said other topics might be of interest to various sectors of the business community and if the department is there to provide more information and maybe provide the opportunity for a video conference.

Prior to the video conference on shipping materials to new markets, the previous seminar was on trade shows and involved Yellowknife businesses such as Ferguson Simek Clark.