Merchants urged to Power Up! at conference

Emily Plihal
Local Journalism
Initiative Reporter

Business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs will have the chance to collaborate, mingle, and learn from their peers at the upcoming PowerUp! Business Conference in Peace River.

The conference, to be held on Oct. 19 at the Chateau Nova, is a collaborative effort between ATB Financial and Community Futures, supported by their partners and sponsors that include CDEA, Smoky River Economic Development, Northern Sunrise County Economic Development, Alberta Government, Peace River & District Chamber of Commerce, and Northern Lakes College.

“This year’s focus is tools related to employee staffing, finding the right staff, mindset development, and connecting through intentional networking,” says one of the organizers, Nichole Simard.

“These topics are the most highly rated factors impacting business right now. If you want to take charge of your business and grow beyond these challenges, attending PowerUp! can help give you the tools to do that,” she adds.

Simard says running your own business can be hard and it can be even harder when the owner doesn’t know where to turn for answers.

“Even simple tools can make a big impact to give the business owner more control, clarity, and ultimately more time and profitability,” she says. “You just don’t know what you don’t know.”

The conference costs $75 to attend and will run from 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

Interested parties are asked to register in advance at powerup-peace country.com.

“Only businesses who have an open mindset to seek out tools and to apply them,” Simard says of what type of business owners should attend.

“Otherwise, this information and the resources apply to any type or size of business, even our friends in agriculture,” she adds.

Simard says there’s an extensive lineup of speakers planned for this year, including keynote speaker Russ Dantu. Dantu is an internationally renowned speaker and his training focuses on customer service, sales, conflict resolution, and communication to increase productivity and performance.

“We also have Jennifer Ireson from Balanced Perspectives Human Resources to explore some specifics around how we actually manage and lead our employees,” says Simard. “We have speakers coming from economic development, and Darren Frederick on the topic of Indigenous business and opportunity. We’ll wrap up the day with some fun practice doing intentional networking, it’s a skill that’s learned, most of the time, and with a room full of great minds. We just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to help people get to know each other. Who knows, maybe you’ll meet someone new to collaborate with!”

The conference is new to the region, so organizers hope businesses will see the potential this offers to them and future entrepreneurs and will choose to attend.

“Resources like this are pretty popular and available in the bigger centers, but they’re harder to access in our region,” explains Simard.

“Our goal is to bring these resources to the people who need them, right where they are. There is so much business opportunity and potential in the region, and these tools and information can help business owners take new strides forward.”

Simard urges anyone interested in attending to not come alone.

“We encourage you to invite a business partner, peer, mentor, or anyone else that you’re trying to build a business relationship with. Attend the conference together! You’ll both be able to discuss what you’re learning, get to know each other better, and have a great time.”

The $75 registration fee includes all meals, snacks, and beverages throughout the day, plus materials. Participants can also receive 20 per cent off to attend the Chamber and Community Futures Business Social event afterwards.

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