The Second Annual Cree Nation / Abitibi-Témiscamingue Business Exchange Day came to a close recently with much success.

The collaborative event was held at the Forestel Hotel November 25 in Val d’Or. Some 210 representatives from 101 businesses met to exchange business ideas, establish future relations and get to know each other better.

Groups met according to a prearranged, rotating table session where each stationary Cree business was visited for 15 minutes before meeting another potential client. The event was complimented with a relaxed lunch and a few inspirational guest speakers.

William Macleod, President of Cree construction, and Ted Moses,

Grand Chief of the Cree, were two of the speakers trying to inspire success within the business component of the Cree Nation, side-by-side with the nonnative participants.

The Nation Magazine’s sales representatives Aaron MacDevitt and Christina Groom met some of their longtime clients in person for the first time.

“We’re always on the phone with our contacts, and rarely have a chance to meet with them, so a conference of this sort really brings everyone together. We’d like to thank everyone for their time and for speaking with us, it was really a great day,” said MacDevitt.

The premise of the event is simple. The participants are given a catalog of businesses and services and they get to choose who they meet with to better suit their company.

In all, there were 800 scheduled meetings that day. “We’re learning a lot from each other,” said event Communications Director Carmella Cote, who has been working with the Cree for 22 years. “I’m amazed at how the Natives and non-natives are working together.”

“I think that the non-natives realize that their northern neighbours have a lot to offer business-wise. Even though the Crees have other business partners, they also think the same thing,” she said.

“We are looking for friendship, partnership, a relationship, we’re all in the same ship and we don’t want to rock the boat.”