Industry representatives from the Northwest Territories had a date with business in northern Quebec last week thanks to the matchmaking efforts of NWT’s francophone economic development agency, CDÉTNO.
A group of seven entrepreneurs and industry proponents from the territory visited the Abitibi-Témiscamingue region of Quebec last week to meet and network with members of the mining, oil and gas, and telecommunications industries in the hope that the two similar regions would be able to identify – and fill – each other’s manufacturing, exploration and service needs.
“Prior to the visit, we made a list of all the companies working in the mining sector in the NWT and we found there was not a lot of exploration or manufacturing companies. That’s why we decided to bring in collaboration with Abitibi,” Anne-Christine Boudreau, CDÉTNO’s economic development manager, told The Journal from a networking meeting in Val-D’or, Quebec Thursday morning.
“The NWT also has some things the region here does not have. They have the advantage of being connection to the Aboriginal groups and being able to work in that way,” she added.
The NWT trade mission involved presentations by businesses from both regions, networking events and visits to various business sites in Abitibi, and followed a similar visit made by Quebec entrepreneurs to Yellowknife one year ago, also arranged by CDÉTNO.
Darrell Beaulieu, president and CEO of Denendeh Investments Inc., told The Journal he hoped the visit would identify opportunities not only for his company, but for Aboriginal businesses back in the territory.
“We’re down here to meet some of the people who provide services to mines in the Abitibi area and northern Quebec, and services in the North, Nunavut, in some cases…We just want to meet the people and see what services and products there are,” he said.
“What’s interesting is that the manufacturing sector here is making lots of products for mining and for oil and gas that we don’t have in the North,” Beaulieu said of Abitibi. “So it’s identifying some of the service gaps and product gaps, not only for Denendeh Investments, but the info we collect will be available to Aboriginal businesses.”
Along with Boudreau and Beaulieu, delegates from the NWT included Dale Smith, general manager of Det’on Cho Corp., president George Mackenzie of the Tlicho Investment Corp., Patrick Doyle of Scarlet Security, Tom Hoefer from the NWT/Nunavut Chamber of Mines and Danny Cimon of Danmax Communications in Yellowknife.
“People from industry and the entrepreneurs from the NWT are having really interesting conversations, so hopefully some partnerships result,” Boudreau said.
The trade mission was made possible through the support of the Canadian Northern Economic Development Agency (CanNor) and the NWT department of Industry, Tourism and Investment and was part of CDÉTNO’s ongoing investment attraction strategy.