PowerUP ready to offer advice to Smoky River area merchants

An event called PowerUp will be held Nov. 22 at the Centre Chevaliers in Falher to help business owners navigate many of the economic and staffing issues they’ve been having since the onset of the pandemic. The event was organized by various businesspeople in the region including Nichole Simard of ATB Business, Noah Lavergne of ATB Wealth, Community Future Peace River’s Sherry Crawford, Alberta Labour and Immigration’s Deanna Basarab, Smoky River Economic Development’s Diane Chiasson and Northern Sunrise County Economic Development’s Lynn Florence. “Our remote rural region is often overlooked when events or resources are brought on topics like business growth and economic issues,” says Simard. “We have some truly amazing businesses in our region and across the North who deserve to have these resources at their fingertips just as much as anybody in the big centres,” she adds. Sponsored by ATB and Community Futures Peace River, the event will showcase several guest speakers including Gordon Fergusson, who will talk about his work in Slave Lake and what he feels it takes to have a community-builder mindset. He has been involved in several growth projects in Slave Lake, including the founding of Koinonia Christian School. He is also the owner of a successful accounting firm and much of the town’s commercial retail development. Organizers say his insights will leave attendees inspired and challenged to think about the impact you can create. “There’s been a lot of new developments and resources made available to businesses that they might not be aware of, so it’s an ideal time to bring this information to our communities,” says Simard. Jennifer Ireson of Balanced Perspectives HR will also speak on hiring woes, staff shortages, staff who underperform, and even just utilizing staffing more effectively. She will share her human resource tools, common oversights, and best practices to help employers navigate unsettled waters. “The forum is designed for business owners and managers who are looking for tools to address issues like labour and staffing, growth opportunities, and who are looking to connect and network with other like-minded business owners across the north,” she says. Mighty Peace Tourism’s Tammy Brauer will present information on building a tourism framework with local business in mind. She will teach how to have abundant growth opportunities for the tourism industry in the north and the support and initiatives Mighty Peace Tourism are working on. Smoky River Economic Development executive director Diane Chiasson will help attendees gain insight on new hiring opportunities, developments in Immigration Programs and community projects. Cold Lake First Nations’ Darren Frederick will share his perspective and challenges building the Cold Lake First Nations toward self-sustainment and the economic opportunities the Indigenous people are creating. Local business owners Tatum Small (Plain Jane Cannabis), Paige Wolfe (Peace River Honey/ Honey Bunny) and Martin Thibault (Thibault Contracting Ltd.) will also be present as a guest panel during the day. Registration is required in advance, so if you would like to register, contact PowerUp at (780) 624-1161 or visit www.powerup-peacecountry.com

Emily Plihal Local Journalism Initiative Reporter - South Peace News - southpeacenews.com

Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, South Peace News