Town to host Northern Networks conference

Well over 100 delegates will converge here Sept. 25-27 for the 10th-annual Northern Networks Trade Conference, which this year will run concurrently with the Northwestern Ontario Associated Chambers of Commerce annual general meeting.
“We’re expecting 160 delegates at the conference,” said NOACC president Tannis Drysdale, who’s thrilled to see the conference held here, bringing not only exposure to the area but money to local businesses for that weekend.
The Northern Networks conference, which has been held here before, changes locations every year. Past locations have included Thunder Bay, Superior, Wis., Duluth, Mn., Wausau, Wis., International Falls, Mn., Green Bay, Wis., and the Wisconsin Dells last year, hosted by the Ho-Chunk First Nation.
Participants will have the opportunity to interact with business owners and managers from Northwestern Ontario, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.  Additionally, said Drysdale, they can acquire the information they need to expand business, develop joint ventures, and foster joint development projects with other attending companies.
Drysdale noted it is “an excellent opportunity for expanding your markets.”
The schedule for Thursday, Sept. 25 includes golfing at the new Heron Landing Golf Course at Couchiching, a fish fry supper at La Place Rendez-Vous, and a meet-and-greet there later that evening.
Friday, Sept. 26 will start off with breakfast t 8 a.m., followed by concurrent meetings for both NNTC and NOACC attendees until noon.
The concurrent seminars will continue from 1-2:30 p.m., followed by a pair of sessions from 2:30-4:30 p.m. on value-added products and value-added tourism—topics vital to this region, noted Drysdale.
A banquet will follow from 6-11 p.m. at the Rendez-Vous.
Saturday also will start with breakfast at 8. a.m., followed by an NNTC economic development session at 9 a.m. running alongside the NOACC business meeting from 9-10:30 a.m.
Trade opportunity presentations will take place from 10:45 a.m.-noon, with the conference wrapping up with lunch at noon.
While some events, such as a trade show, were to take place at the Red Dog Inn, they now will be held at the Couchiching Bingo Palace, Geoff Gillon of the Rainy River Future Development Corp. said Monday.
Over the past decade, the Northern Networks conference has been an annual cross-border event providing a venue for hundreds of business owners and managers, community leaders, and economic development practitioners throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Northwestern Ontario.
The conference’s primary objectives traditionally have been business-to-business matchmaking, business-to-consumer networking, and strategic partnership/alliance development.
Since the inaugural conference in Thunder Bay in 1994, this event has attracted 1,500 Canadian and U.S. delegates to explore the development of trade, tourism, and investment throughout the bi-national region.
Those interested in attending the conference can contact the Fort Frances Chamber of Commerce at 274-5773 or by e-mail at thefort@ff.lakeheadu.ca
The registration fee, which includes the welcome reception, two breakfasts, lunch, the evening banquet, and attendance at all networking sessions and seminars, is $150 Cdn. ($100 U.S.)
(Fort Frances Times)