Business conference in Amos is full of creative ideas

In today’s fast-paced business environment, remaining stagnant is a surefire way to be left behind. Thanks to the increasing use of the Internet and its available multi-platform tools, creativity and innovation have become the most highly sought skills in the business marketplace.

On a grander scale, innovation in government can lead to a region as a whole prospering in the long term. In the spirit of increasing cooperation and innovation, the Secretariat to the Cree Nation Abitibi-Témiscamingue Economic Alliance (SAENCAT) hosted 37 speakers at a two-day conference in Amos May 30-31.

The speakers at the event were industry and political leaders who brought to the annual conference, titled Innovation and Creativity: Nordic Development, ways in which local business and communities have met challenges through pioneering means.

“Together let us celebrate this ability of ours to develop new ideas, to be visionary and to develop socioeconomic models adapted to the North, so that we can create a better world and a better place to live,” said SAENCAT President Ted Moses. “This is what this conference is all about.”

Among the featured guest speakers were Amos Mayor Ulrick Chérubin, Grand Chief Matthew Coon Come and Cirque du Soleil co-founder Jean David. With over 200 attendees, the conference showcased businesses from the nine Cree communities, James Bay, Abitibi-Temiscamingue and Nunavik.

During the conference numerous examples of Cree business success stories were reported, such as the vibrant growth of Waskaganish as told by Sherman Salt and the Eeyou Communication Network, whose president Alfred Loon and coordinator Louis Lavergne presented their company’s success.

The economic achievement of the Cree has not gone unnoticed, with many recent mentions in the national media, which attributed regional success to the unique relation between the Cree and the provincial and federal governments.

“During the last 40 to 50 years, the Crees of Eeyou Istchee made remarkable growth and created new opportunities,” said Chérubin. “This was because [the Crees] wanted to work differently and were being creative in finding solutions to resolve the problems they were living in.”

Success today depends upon innovation and creative marketing through social media and Internet platforms, in order to penetrate a broader market. In fact, with the speed of viral media, brands can lose their hard-earned reputation or reach new heights in market penetration in a matter of minutes. One of the benefits of bringing together such a diverse array of business minds has been to help companies network and expand their reach. With their wealth of experience, speakers like Abitibi Géophysique president Pierre Bérubé, who has taken his company to the international level, told the audience how to successfully build up a business.

Matthew Coon Come said many exciting opportunities await the region to the adoption of the governance agreement in the Quebec government’s Bill 42. “This partnership will benefit the Crees, the Jamésiens, and the Québécois for generations to come,” he said.

Being a first for Canada, the Cree Nation is about to blaze a trail for others to follow regarding nation-to-nation relationships. “Northern Quebec and Abitibi-Témiscamingue have unique geographic locations,” said Moses. “Both regions can look to a great future if they continue to unleash their innovative and creative powers.”