We loved getting out and about in rural Manitoba this past weekend. The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce held their 81st AGM in Winkler and Morden and the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba sponsored the Chair’s reception. Deloitte’s Carol Paradine, was sworn in as the new Chair at Morden’s Access Centre Fossil Museum. I captured a photo of Alison next to one of the museum’s hungrier denizens who, luckily, did not compete with us in partaking of the shrimp appetizers.
We noticed the very obvious growth occurring in one of Manitoba’s most entrepreneurial communities. New construction, both commercial and residential, was evident throughout the Winkler and Morden area. While in the community, we made a point of visiting some women-owned businesses that were pretty impressive by any standard: Saban and Company, a large clothing shop in Morden provides shoes, accessories and jewellery that owner Gina Dyck noted would serve women aged 18 to 80 years. We also dropped into Ginger Wood Lane Tea Room and Gift Shop in Winkler and met Naomi Bergen. She has put her own spin on a charming tea room and gift boutique that she purchased a few years ago. These business owners appear to be as energetic and entrepreneurial as their Chambers of Commerce.
Some of the issues that Manitoba chambers are dealing with have large implications for the economic health of the province. Presentations by experts on healthcare and water stewardship at the Saturday meeting were interesting, educational and certainly opened my eyes to challenges, and potential solutions that are being discussed by our business communities.
What’s interesting to me in these journeys around Manitoba is the breadth and diversity of the province’s towns and regions, and how hard local business communities work to provide the foundation for an excellent quality of life for their citizens. On Saturday, we delivered a presentation about the resources offered by the Centre and had an opportunity to meet several women who are madly multi-tasking in their efforts to build their enterprises. One woman had a young family and was running two businesses. And still, here she was, at a Chamber event, bent on gaining knowledge about resources and ideas to keep her business fresh and growing.
I’m impressed, yet again, with the energy and verve found in the thriving centres across our province. I look forward to our next trip out the door and over the fence into our prairie landscape to see what’s growing, not only from the ground, but from the minds and hands of our businesses and enterprises.