The 2007 NWT Aboriginal Business Conference, hosted by Denendeh Development Corporation (DDC), in partnership with our conference sponsors, was a resounding success. The conference goal, “Establishing Economic Cooperation”, was achieved in major ways. Delegates left the national forum satisfied they were afforded every opportunity to gain business knowledge and connect with industry leaders from the North and across Canada.
Denendeh Development Corporation is a private company, incorporated in 1982 to enable the Dene of Canada’s Northwest Territories to share in the ownership of profitable business and to foster employment, growth and career development in the communities. DDC was especially proud to host this successful event on the 25th Anniversary of DDC.
The 2007 NWT Aboriginal Business Conference brought together a national delegation of two-hundred and fifty leading aboriginal, northern and southern industry leaders, senior-level executives, NWT Chiefs, and government leaders to the annual conference which has become “the business networking event of the North”. The conference focused on capacity building through business and workforce development and provided quality information exchange, exceptional opportunities to engage in business prospects, networking on a national level, and connection with key industry people.
The 2007 NWT Aboriginal Business Conference keynote speaker Te Taru White, Chief Executive of the Te Puia, New Zealand Maori Arts and Crafts Institute, has been a Scientist, Senior Executive and Consultant. Te Taru has been very successful working with the Maori, international indigenous groups and the private sector from both a government policy and service delivery perspective in both social and economic development areas. He has been a past portfolio Manager for the economic development section of the Ministry of Maori Development in New Zealand, and past Chairman and Trustee member of several Maori owned farming and forestry based operations. He has also held Directorships on several national and regional Boards in New Zealand.
Other renowned speakers and business leaders included Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band, Eira Thomas; CEO, Stornoway Diamond Corporation; Wendy Mathison, V.P. Operations, Peregrine Diamond Corporation; Joseph Kochon, President, Ayoni Keh Land / Dugha Financial Corporation; Bertha Rabesca-Zoe, Legal Counsel, Tlicho Government and Advisor, Tlicho Investment Corporation; Fred Hunt, President and CEO, Nunasi Corporation; and Duane Mather, President and CEO of Nabors Canada and Director with Shehtah Nabors LP. All of our conference speakers were dynamic and were specially chosen to enhance the conference experience.
More than fourty youth participated at the conference beginning with a pre-conference youth workshop, “Preparing to Participate”. Te Taru White, the conference keynote speaker, and Chief Clarence Louie of the Osoyoos Indian Band, presented at the youth workshop. Robb Campre, Alberta businessman and champion of promoting healthy lifestyles for youth, was the workshop facilitator. DDC plans to continue with this focus on the youth to assist them in becoming entrepreneurs and business leaders of the future.
Four concurrent business development workshops, offering practical business knowledge for existing and emerging business owners, took place during the two-day conference:
- Central Purchasing Power Facilitated by Lewis Staats, President and Chief Executive Officer, Staats & Associates
- Procurement Facilitated by Mark Salkeld, Manager, Quality Assurance, Nabors Industries Inc.
- Project Management Facilitated by George Ehrler, Principal Manager, Ehrler Limousin & Associates
- Understanding Community Economic Development Facilitated by Robert Campbell, Director of Business Development and Public Relations for Tribal Councils Investment Group and Manitoba Director for CANDO
The conference opened with an evening reception on October 16th, celebrating DDC’s 25th Anniversary. The Behchoko youth drummers and Lee Mandeville provided cultural entertainment for the reception guests. Red Power Squad from Edmonton wowed the youth with a demonstration of modern hip-hop, combined with traditional dance.
DDC sponsored well-received Red Power Squad workshops at Weledeh and K’alemi Schools on October 17th.
The first Annual General Meeting of the newly established Northern Aboriginal Business Association (NABA) was held concurrent with the conference. The NABA Founding Board of Directors was introduced at the “Business After Hours” reception, attended by the conference delegates and business leaders from the community. Chief Charles Furlong, Aklavik Indian Band, and Honourable Joseph Handley, Premier of the Northwest Territories, were guest speakers at the reception.
Shehtah Nabors LP, a drilling company owned by Denendeh Investments Corporation in partnership with Nabors Canada, announced the establishment of a NWT scholarship program which will award four - $5000 scholarships to top Dene students in the NWT who are pursuing post-secondary education.
DDC jointly hosted the conference dinner with the Aboriginal Sports Circle of the Western Arctic (ASCWA). Dr. James Makokis, B.Sc, M.H.Sc, was the guest speaker. The four 2007 ASCWA Award recipients were announced at the dinner. The evening ended with a drum dance held in the Great Hall, Legislative Assembly.Sponsors
DDC gratefully acknowledges tremendous corporate support for “Establishing Economic Cooperation” extended by the sponsors of the 2007 NWT Aboriginal Business Conference. The list of corporate sponsors is posted on the DDC website, www.denendeh.ca.
All people in the northern communities were tuned into a live broadcast of the conference plenary and social sessions, hosted by CKLB.Conference documents posted on the DDC website, www.denendeh.ca:
- Conference Agenda
- List of Conference Participants
- List of Conference Corporate Sponsors
- Audio Recordings of Conference Plenary Sessions