Connect Manitoba Launching at Manitoba Chambers’ AGM

April 25, 2013

It’s hard to believe, but it’s only one week to the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce Annual General Meeting at Elkhorn Resort & Conference Centre!

As part of the Friday Networking Reception, we’d like to introduce Connect Manitoba.

Connect Manitoba is a way for local businesses in your area to:

  • build their customer base
  • find vendors for services they need
  • find potential business partners

What is Connect Manitoba?

A structured way to network; think of it as speed-dating for businesses. A group of businesses get together in a room—it can be as few as five and as many as 100.

  • The businesses pair up for about 5 minutes each.
    • One business pitches the other about what they sell, what supplies they buy, and business partnerships they might be looking for.
    • And then the other business does the same thing.
    • Maybe they trade business cards.
  • The organizer rings a bell.
  • Everyone switches partners.
  • And the pitches happen all over again.

Depending on how many businesses take part, the whole process can take anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of hours.

Why is this happening at the MCC AGM?

The plan is to test drive is Connect Manitoba at the MCC AGM and then, if it works the way we think it might, hold sessions in four different parts of Manitoba.

  • Western Manitoba, encompassing the Chambers’ western, Midwest, and Parkland regions
  • Eastern Manitoba, encompassing the Chambers’ Eastern region
  • South Central, encompassing the Chambers’ Pembina Valley and Central regions
  • North Central, encompassing the Chambers’ Interlake and Norman regions

Each regional Connect Manitoba would focus on fostering business-to-business connections in that area of the province. Each Connect Manitoba session would work with the Chambers in that area as partners. If the businesses participating see their Connect Manitoba experience as valuable, the intention would be to hold one in that area each year.

There is no cost to participate in the Connect Manitoba test drive at the MCC AGM. The only qualifications are:

  • be a member of a chamber
  • be able to represent a business
  • be willing to try something new

Haven’t I Heard About This Before?

Something similar to this happens at Centralia. But there are two differences between Connect Manitoba and Centralia:

  • Centralia focuses on international trade, while Connect Manitoba focuses on local trade.
  • Participating in Connect Manitoba is much less expensive. Depending on the venue and the refreshments served, the cost for a business to participate in a regional Connect Manitoba will be between $25 and $50.

This approach to fostering business-to-business connections has been tried elsewhere as well, but Connect Manitoba may be the only instance focused on rural businesses.

Why is the Buller Centre for Business involved?

The Buller Centre exists to be useful to the business community.

We think Connect Manitoba might be useful to businesses—especially to businesses in rural Manitoba. We want to see if that’s true.

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