Reston was the site of the 2nd annual Southwest Business and Entrepreneur Expo on Wednesday, February 6th.

The goal of this expo is to attract and support new and existing entrepreneurs in the region. “The expo provides an opportunity to new and existing business persons to learn and network. Following this year’s program I’ve heard nothing but positive comments about everything from the quality of speakers and the flow of information to how good the food was” said chairperson, Tanis Chalmers, Manager of Economic Development, RM of Pipestone.

The day long program included learning sessions from industry experts. These sessions provided innovative ideas and tools to help business owners to succeed in the competitive business environment. Sessions included Working Together, Rural Entrepreneurial Success, How to Create Systems that Enable Business Growth, Develop and Market Your Food Product, and Mindfully Managing Your Business.

Part of the Expo was the Business Pitch competition and this year nine business owners made their pitches to the panel of experts. A total of $6,000 was up for grabs. “I was obviously hoping to win some money but it was also about more exposure for my business because that’s how we grow our businesses.2019 pitch winnersPitch winners flanked by organizer Tanis Chalmers and judge Andrew Arksey

Wanda Grant, owner of Come Back Cafe in Pipestone, picked up $1,200 and won the “Best Pitch of the Day” award. She operates her 64 seat cafe in the local rink.

“My pitch promoted home grown, home made, best service and the best food.”

Author and Business Owner, Pat Hirst was one of the keynote speakers. She told expo participants for businesses and organizations to thrive, people need to work collaboratively with their own teams and build trust with clients and stakeholders. She touched on three keys for creating successful working relationships and a positive workplace culture: connect | evolve | resolve.

The trade show featured a number of commercial displays.

The communities of RM of Souris-Glenwood, RM of Pipestone, Town of Virden, RM of Wallace-Woodworth, Town of Melita, Municipality of Grassland, RM of Sifton, and RM of Deloraine-Winchester., worked together to organize and facilitate the SW Business & Entrepreneurship Expo.

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