2nd annual Indigenous Business Gathering in Saskatoon connects over 80 companies

The Government of Saskatchewan hosted the second annual Indigenous Business Gathering on Tuesday. The event at Prairieland Park brought over 500 people from Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses together to discuss collaborations and partnerships.

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The event hosted more than 80 mostly Indigenous businesses, all seeking to connect with others. It was the largest Indigenous economic development event in the entire province of Saskatchewan. The number of participants this year doubled compared to the previous edition.

Matt Smith, CEO of the Saskatchewan Indigenous Investment Finance Corp., a government organization that invests in Indigenous businesses, is pleased with the growth.

“The event grew out of a desire of Indigenous and non-Indigenous businesses to have more partnership opportunities in procurement, supply chain or joint ventures. It is all part of economic reconciliation.”

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He added that the previous edition was very positively received by participants.

Plato Technologies’ Krista Sali was excited about the connections she was able to make during the event.

“It is a really good chance for us to network with other companies and find new clients this way. Talking to other Indigenous businesses is so helpful, because we can find synergies or ways to work together and help each other.”

Sali said she joined Plato Technologies because its social mission appealed to her. “Plato really helps Indigenous people find their way to IT careers. Through training programs, we find and recruit Indigenous employees into the world of IT.”

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The event is part of the province’s plan action to increase Indigenous participation in the economy of Saskatchewan.

Several multinational companies, like Enbridge and BHP, also attended.

Kim Brennies, the director for community and Indigenous engagement with energy transport company Enbridge, said he sees the event as a great opportunity to strengthen relationships with Indigenous groups.

“We are dedicated to having Indigenous partners fully participate on all our projects. To achieve that, we do extensive consultations with local Indigenous groups wherever we operate. We try to go the extra step by making Indigenous communities into partners in the assets where we operate.”

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