The Southwest Business & Entrepreneur Expo organizing committee is thrilled to spend time with two of their April 27th Expo’s keynote speakers! 

‘Your Town Rising’ founders, Leslie Fournier and Gregg McLachlan, will be sharing their expertise during the expo held in Souris later this month. Collaborating with their skills has been a successful match for building businesses and communities across North America. 

“We thought that we would take advantage of the fact that the expo has funds from over the years and further benefit the communities that are participating in the expo and keep them here for a week, getting them right here in our communities and do a bit of a walk-about,” explains Liza Parks, EDM for the Town of Virden. 

Fournier and McLachlan hail from Ontario, and come with their own skill sets that will give communities different ideas on how to better their downtown areas. They say they’re not business consultants, but just regular small business owners who have a wealth of ‘experiences to support their 20 plus combined years of helping towns, businesses and organizations be successful. 

Parks says they have many examples of how to increase community development and beautification on a rural budget. “They have worked in small towns just like ours, and this is also to inspire the business owners in those towns to work in their municipalities, to work as a community, to try to revitalize and make our downtowns more appealing.” 

“It’s always great to bring in an outside perspective, and this is what they do!” 

“They’re super-excited to be in Manitoba,” adds Parks. “They’ve been west but never in Manitoba. So, they’re already going through our websites and we’re sending them pictures of our communities. They’ll have a good idea of what the communities offer and what’s there before they come.” 

“This is not just about them meeting with council members,” she reminds us. “We want them to meet with business owners, do a walk-about, and then we invite everyone back at the end of the day where they’ll be making a presentation to that community.” 

Parks encourages all community stakeholders from across the region to join them on April 27th to hear more from Leslie Fournier and Gregg McLachlan. She says everyone can be inspired through the key note address, lunch time talk and breakout sessions. It’s for everyone! 


‘Your Town Rising’ scheduled visits: 

April 25th - Kenton, Elkhorn, Virden  

April 26th – Souris  

April 28th – Municipality of Grassland  

April 29th – Municipality of Deloraine-Winchester  

April 30th – Melita, RM of Two Borders, Municipality of Brenda-Waskada  

For more information about Your Town Rising visit 


All updated information about the event and sponsors will be posted on our website and Facebook as it becomes available.  

Registration is now open for the event!  

We hope to see you there. For more information about further event details: 

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Your Town Rising - Helping Towns and Downtowns Revitalize