On February 12, 2020, the Southwest Business And Entrepreneur Expo came to Melita. Held at the Enns Brother Place, it was a day-long event designed to provide tools that would assist businesses small and large, new and old, to become more successful in whatever field they were in.
The day was filled with speakers and exhibition booths, breakout sessions and awards. There were plenty of opportunities for business people to network…to discuss what had been learned and to unearth new business contacts. And off course, a delicious lunch was also on the day’s menu!
The formal part of the day kicked off in the gym with David Lipinski of Futurpreneur Canada speaking of the resources and funding that are available to people who have just got a business going or who are thinking about starting one. A half-hour ‘break’ followed that where people could visits the display booths of various exhibitors, including those who were offering the resources that David spoke of. Then back to the gym everyone went!
This time, they found a panel discussion going on where Brooks White, Nathan Corrigal, Jill Caldwell and Mark Humphries conversed about the lessons they had learned that had helped them overcome challenges that potentially could have led to failure. This went on for about an hour…until it was time to have lunch!
While businessmen and businesswomen loaded up their plates with roast beef, salads and desserts, keynote speaker Julia Senchuk, a physcotherapist and instructor at Brandon University, set up for her address. She focused on how a proper mindset can go a long way towards success or failure, specifically how positive thinking goes a lot further on the path of success than negative thinking.
The rest of the afternoon consisted of breakout sessions. Charles Tweed led one about the effectiveness of social media; another session dealt with the importance of developing and nurturing positive customer relationships; Puneet Biltwiwala and Jennifer Chant of Sunrise Credit Union walked through how to write a business plan and Tiffany Cameron offered some advice on how to choose the right POS system – modern day cash registers!
While all these activities were going on, small business owners nervously stood before three judges – Andrew Arksey, Cathy Seagrove and Brad Hack to ‘pitch’ their companies and business plans, with the hope of receiving much-needed cash awards to help them with their newly-formed businesses. All told, awards offering more than $10,000 in various categories was up for grabs!
All in all, the day was well-attended, and seemed to be much appreciated by those who took the time to be there.
Another unique feature of this event is the Business Pitch Competition. This is open to start-up entrepreneurs and existing ones looking to expand. Aside from receiving feedback from the expert panel of judges, they also had a chance to win cash prizes. This year’s winners were the following:
Community Futures Westman $1,000 - Best Pitch of The Day – Samantha’s Boutique
Enns Brothers Ltd. $250 - Young Entrepreneur Award – Sub Zero Refrigeration & Heating
Sunrise Credit Union $500 - Judges Choice – G.E.T. Glass
Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba $500 – IntelliFARM
Oak Lake Community Development Board $1,000 – Joe Dandy’s
Town of Virden $1,000 – Ayana Wellness Studios
Municipality of Wallace – Woodworth $1000 – Samantha’s Boutique
Melita & Area Economic Development Corporation $500 – Mama Stay at Home Yoga Studio
Melita & District Chamber of Commerce $500 + 1-year free membership – 83 Industries, Ltd.
Souris-Glenwood CDC$500 - Sound Business Model – Anastasia’s Serenity Wellness
Souris-Glenwood CDC $500 - Best Overall Presentation – Chabluk Service Repair
Souris-Glenwood Chamber of Commerce $250 + 1-year free membership – Chabluk Service Repair
Municipality of Two Borders $1,000 – The Den Designs
Other pitch prizes that were available but not issued due to ineligibility: Municipality of Deloraine-Winchester ($500); Deloraine & District Chamber of Commerce ($1,000); Municipality of Grassland ($250); RM of Pipestone ($2,000); Municipality of Brenda-Waskada ($500).
Next year’s event will be held on February 10, 2021 in Souris. You may also visit their website swbusinessexpo.com or find them on Facebook @SWentrepreneurexpo.