This week many business owners, and entrepreneurs enjoyed a full day gleaning ideas and strategies on small business practices through the Business Expo held at the Town of Reston on Wednesday.

Chuck Davidson is the CEO and President of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, and was keynote speaker for the full-day event.

Davidson says the message he wanted to convey to business owners, is the importance of an event like this, the coming together to share successes and experiences.

“And the importance of making sure that we are helping to stimulate economic development in rural Manitoba,” adds Davidson, “and the importance that that plays in the Manitoba economy.  There’s a role for chambers and businesses to know that organizations like us are here to support, and to try to help make them successful as well and the importance they have in the economy.”

“At the same time we wanted to talk about the importance of being competitive in this province.  We know we have a ways to go, but at the same time we don’t do that, it’s going to have a negative impact on business growth in Manitoba.”

Davidson explains the local Chambers have multiple roles when it comes to supporting local business.  “Some of the roles the Chamber can play, is to provide an opportunity for the local community to do that networking for businesses to come together, but, also to really be that strong advocate.”

 “So, if you’re in Boissevain, or Deloraine, or Melita and you’ve got some specific issues that your local government or your provincial government is dealing with,  or any other organization, and you need some organization to advocate on your behalf, that’s really the role of your local chamber.”

“If it’s an issue that takes a little more work than that, that’s when individuals and organizations come to the Manitoba Chamber of Commerce, and we’ll advocate on their behalf.  So, we’ve got the relationship with the decision-makers at the legislature and in Ottawa, to be able to make sure the issues that are important to business that there’s a voice for those.”

“At the same time we held to steer businesses who are looking for additional resources or programs, and we can steer them in the right direction, because our role is how do we help these businesses grow in Manitoba.”

“We know if businesses are growing, then communities are growing, and that’s important,” he says.

Outside the City of Winnipeg, Davidson explains that it important to think ‘regionally’.  “I think the more our communities think like that the more beneficial it’s going to be.  Rather than thinking that each individual business is looking at what it has to offer its own citizens, looking at it from a regional standpoint.”

“Looking at what the employers look like in terms of what are the differentiators between this community and that community and how can we focus our economic efforts in that regard.”

“So, that’s what we’re strongly encouraging,” Davidson concludes, “ to start looking regionally to make sure we’re not duplicating services in communities as well, because we think that will create a lot greater prosperity throughout the region as well.”

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