Economic summit in Lloyd highlights benefits of business partnerships
- EFN Staff | November 26, 2017
Even though there was a first snow on the ground and the roads were a little hazardous, there still was a great turnout for this year's Economic Partnership Summit, held at the Lloydminster Exhibition Grounds in mid-October.
The morning started off with a grand entry lead by dancers and singers, followed by all the dignitaries and sponsors. There was then an elder’s prayer followed by greetings from the City of Lloydminster by Mayor Gerald Aalbers. Representatives from Lakeland College and the Office of the Treaty Commissioner also gave opening remarks.
The format for this year’s event was changed up to allow time for more successful business connections. The morning was dedicated to hearing from speakers who had experience in creating economic development in their communities. The afternoon was formatted to set up one on one meetings between potential business partners.
Zane Hansen, President & CEO of Saskatchewan Indian Gaming Authority, was first up. Zane gave an update on the incoming Lloydminster Casino and how SIGA works in the community. He explained the economic benefits of their project, not only for the City but for the neighbouring First Nations. The casino will provide employment opportunities, with great training and benefits and tourism traffic for the municipality. The Casino is expected to be open September 2018.
Next up was Shaun Soonias, Executive Director of the Saskatchewan First Nations Economic Development Network, who gave an inspiring presentation on the possibilities and effects of Indigenous business on the Saskatchewan economy.
The SFNEDN was created to help encourage Indigenous inclusion in economic development. They work with First Nations businesses to raise their visibility in the community and encourage relationships to “build economies collectively.”
After the coffee break, Darrell Carter, General Manager of Beretta Pipeline Construction, gave some advice on how Indigenous businesses could move forward in collaborating with each other and Non-Indigenous businesses. He recounted how Beretta has grown as a company and how he has personally learned that “politics and business can work together to do good.”
Last up was Chief Tammy Cook-Searson, Chief of Lac La Ronge Indian Band. After addressing the crowd in Cree, Chief Tammy spoke about the group of companies that run under the banner of Kitsaki Management Limited Partnership, of which she is the President. She explained how the partnership got started, how they have grown and what the are looking to do in the future. Their goal is to “balance economic development and the environment” and to “create benefit for all stakeholders”. They are currently looking for new start-ups to create partnerships.
After lunch, the Business Connections meetings were set up and ready to go. This gave the attending businesses a chance to meet one-on-one to strike up conversations around future business partnerships.