Area dignitaries gathered in Penticton Thursday night to get the word out about an event coming to the city in February, designed to connect First Nations with businesses.
Aboriginal Business Match, ABM 2013, will be co-hosted by the Penticton Indian Band and held from Feb. 18 to 21 at the Penticton Trade and Convention Centre.
"I think this is very exciting, an opportunity to showcase First Nations lands and businesses and to connect for development," said Penticton Indian Band Chief Jonathan Kruger, who spoke at the event at the Penticton Ramada.
ABM employs a trade show format of pre-scheduled appointments between qualified business matches. First Nations and tribal councils participate on one side of the match. Aboriginal and non-aboriginal companies, nonprofit organizations and government agencies participate on the exhibitor side.
All delegates develop an e-profile showcasing communities and projects, as well as services and products offered or required.
The first ABM held last year in Prince George was well attended and organizers expect this year's event to meet with the same success.
"We estimate that delegates at ABM 2012 initiated anywhere form $2 to $10 million dollars in new business deals," said Keith Henry, chair of the ABM steering committee. "We expect results from ABM 2013 to be significant again."
Kruger said he was looking forward to welcoming the delegates and showcasing the Okanagan.
"The city of Penticton is pretty much developed out, but the Penticton Indian Band has some prime lands that are very beneficial for ecomonic development," he said. "Development could look across the river and see residential, commercial, industrial or tourism developments."
Mayor Dan Ashton described the event as incredible and looked forward to the city and band moving forward together.
"The possibilities are endless," he said
The Penticton Indian Band Development Corporation is already working with Bellstar and Devonian Developments, to develop the $250-million Arrowleaf project, a master-planned residential resort community, located on a 550-acre site overlooking Skaha Lake.
Construction is slated to begin in Spring 2013 on a 75-home residential development on Warren Avenue with
partners GableCraft Homes. The PIBDC has also partnered with the Property Development Group (PDG) on a planned shopping centre and mixed use development to be located on a 20-hectare site bordering the Penticton airport.
For more information on the February event click here.