Prince Rupert will be a bit busier later this month as the National Aboriginal Business Opportunities Conference returns, with more people than last year’s event.
“We increased the size this year by changing the layout of the conference a bit. There are just over 260 delegates coming, some coming from out of the country and others from all across Canada” said organizer Geoff Greenwell of the 2G Group.
“It’s sold out and it’s packed. There is a big demand to get in this year.”
According to Greenwell, part of the reason for the success of the conference is what is happening in the region with projects such as the Northwest Transission Line, LNG terminals and the expansion of Ridley Terminals. It’s also because of the unique networking opportunity the conference provides.
“We have representation from all Northwest First Nations groups including the Tahltan, Gtixan, Haisla, Haida, Tsimshian, Nisga’a and elsewhere in Canada. That is good because, as people are starting to figure out that there is a large resource boom coming so big companies are beginning to circle and express interest in the region…It’s a great opportunity for the private sector and First Nations to meet all in one place. As a business, it is tough to travel throughout the region and meet with each of the First Nations interests in the northwest,” said Greenwell.
“Because of what is happening here in the northwest, I think this conference has legs for many years.”
The conference itself is April 18 and 19, with optional tours of the harbour and Ridley Terminals planned for April 20 and a golf tournament to benefit the Metlakatla and Lax Kw’alaams youth centres planned for April 19. By the time flights, hotel rooms and food are factored in, Greenwell expects the economic impact to be approximately $3,000 per delegate.
As well, there will be an art show at the Crest Hotel on April 18, which Greenwell says is open to delegates and the public.
The golf tournament is being sponsored by Burrard Clean and Smit Marine, while major conference sponsors include the Prince Rupert Port Authority, Ridley Terminals and Northern Savings Credit Union.