Business Exchange Day allows Cree businesses to speed date with others

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Organized by the Secretariat to the Cree Nation Abitibi-Témiscamingue Economic Alliance, the Business Exchange Day is an event at which entrepreneurs schedule matchmaking meetings with other businesses. This year’s exchange was held in Val-d’Or November 29.

“The event places a high value on the principle of mutual respect, good business relationships and understanding the context of northern Quebec,” explained Chantal Hamelin, director of operations for the Secretariat.

Over 200 businesses attended this year from Eeyou Istchee, the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region and from Ontario.

More than 700 business matchmaking meetings took place. Each provided participants a chance to establish contact and to create mutually beneficial relationships.

“The importance of the role played by the Secretariat in respectful integration of entrepreneurs’ eagerness to widen their horizons is paramount to healthy growth for both businesses that want to work with them and the entrepreneurs,” said Hamelin.

Alfred Loon, the treasurer for the Secretariat, said the event offers the opportunity for businesses in the Abitibi and Cree Nation to dialogue with one another in order to work with them more effectively.

Ted Moses, president of the Secretariat, said that the event has positive effects on the communities and businesses, many of which are able to create new partnerships.

Moses pointed out that the mining industry is growing in Eeyou Istchee. “People have to understand that there is an evolution of the skills required in this industry,” he underlined. “The Cree Nation is working on improving this, so it looks very positive.”

Jacquelin Petit, of Groupe Sogitex and Équipement Rivard, was pleased to take part in the event. “[It] helped us understand the mechanism of the relationship with the Cree Nation and its expectations of us,” he explained.

Former Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come said that building relationships among the participants is a crucial step before building business partnerships.

The Secretariat’s next economic development event will be held in Val-d’Or June 13-14, 2018.

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