Sharing ideas
Showcase nets positive results

Darrell Greer
Northern News Services

RANKIN INLET (Oct 27/99) - A group of six Kivalliq/Nunavut business and government representatives attended the Aboriginal Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs Showcase '99 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, earlier this month.

The showcase was originally scheduled for Oct. 13-14, but, due to the tremendous response to Nunavut's participation, subsequent meetings were added on Oct. 15.

Representing Nunavut were Theresie Tungilik of the Nunavut Arts and Crafts Association, Yvo Airut of Y&C Enterprises and Sakku Investments Corp., Danny Kowmuk of the Keewatin Chamber of Commerce, Elizabeth Palfrey of the Evaz Group and Rankin Inlet chamber, Richard Connelly of the Nunavut/Manitoba Business Liaison office and Robert Connelly of the Department of Sustainable Development.

Robert Connelly said the main intent of attending the conference was to allow local Inuit business owners to meet with aboriginal business owners and various industry reps.

"The showcase allowed our representatives to showcase their individual businesses and explore possible business opportunities with different groups in Manitoba," he says."

Robert said the recent excursion differed from the Manitoba Trade Mission earlier this year in that it had a specific focus on aboriginal businesses.

He said the showcase produced a number of positive results for the Kivalliq group.

"I think our business delegates were very pleased with the showcase because it was specifically orientated to their needs.

"It dealt with a number of issues that are very common between the two regions, such as isolation, cultural differences, whatever the case might be.

"We came back with some positive feedback and I know for a fact there were some specific business opportunities discussed."

Robert said one of the key areas of interest discussed during the conference was the Aboriginal Buyers Group.

"This group got all the First Nations groups in Manitoba that used to buy many products on their own to come together collectively.

"As a buyer's group, they have a lot more influence over pricing and are interested in getting some of the Inuit businesses here to join their group."

Robert said there was also a lot of discussion about mining development in the local area and the recent Manitoba Hydro study into extending the hydro lines from Churchill into the Kivalliq Region.

"There was a lot of interest in that because it would have a huge impact into the Kivalliq Region.

"The impact would not only be in terms of cheaper power. They talked about building roads, service stations, communications lines, things like that.

"This is something which would have a tremendous impact upon our business community should it be given the go ahead."