Penticton Indian Band in the spotlight at business conference

The date is drawing rapidly nearer for a major and unique business conference coming to Penticton.

The date is drawing rapidly nearer for a major and unique business conference coming to Penticton.

Aboriginal Business Match 2013, a First Nations business development event, will be co-hosted by the Penticton Indian Band from Feb. 18 to 21 at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre. This is only the second conference of it’s kind, with the first being held earlier this year in Prince George.

“We are very excited to cohost the event,” said Chief Jonathan Kruger of the PIB, who is pleased to see First Nations gathering to promote economic development and self sustainability. “I am very encouraged to see they are coming up with innovative ways to introduce developers to First Nations communities.”

ABM employs a trade show format of prepared one-on-one business meetings. The technology-powered event offers online tools that assist with the creation of targeted messaging and communication between delegates.

Delegates develop e-profiles showcasing communities, opportunities and projects, services and products offered as well as required. Based on these e-profiles, appointments are requested online and computer-matched to make the best connections. Both sides come away equipped with a focused appointment schedule and detailed knowledge about each other’s business and priorities.

“As we move forward, our business success and new joint venture partnerships have the potential to transform the regional economy in a profound way,” said Chief Kruger. “It will be a good opportunity for the PIB community to showcase some of the lands we want to set aside for economic development.

Kruger hopes that some of the locatees (private landowners on the PIB lands) will gain some exposure, but he said the potential is especially encouraging for the band, which has 1,500 acres earmarked for economic development.

And while it might be hard to show off the land in February under a coating of snow, the band has had a video produced to show the land at its best, along with the more usual promotional material of maps and photographs.

“The success of our band-owned businesses and the many development initiatives we’re pursuing will create new economic opportunities and job growth for our community, the City of Penticton and the region as a whole,” said Kruger.

Three projects, in various stages of development, have the potential to inject new life into the region’s economic growth plan.

The PIB Development Corporation is working with a group of partners, including Bellstar and Devonian Developments, to develop the $250-million Arrowleaf project, a residential resort community on a 50-acre site overlooking Skaha Lake. Construction on another project, a 75-home residential development on Warren Avenue, is slated to begin in spring 2013 and the PIBDC has also partnered with the Property Development Group on a planned shopping centre and mixed use development to be located on a 20-hectare site bordering the Penticton airport.

“ABM provides invaluable opportunities to initiative and foster business relationships from supplier to joint venture partner for PIB, the other 119 BC First Nations and the 100 corporations registered,” said Keith Henry, Chair of the ABM Steering Committee. “We estimate that delegates at ABM 2012 initiated anywhere from $2 to $10 million dollars in new business deals. We expect results from ABM 2013 to be significant again.”