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National Conference Shows EDL on the Right Track

Sep 30, 2018
In a world of constant change and digital disruption, staying current on issues and trends can be a real challenge. That’s why professional development and networking events are a worthwhile use of time in almost any profession.

I was recently appointed to the board of directors of the Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC) to represent economic developers from across Alberta and had the opportunity to attend the organization’s annual conference in Fredericton, New Brunswick. A number of keynote presentations at this year’s conference have confirmed for me that the team at Economic Development Lethbridge is on the right track.

Sessions highlighted the importance of innovation to ensure local businesses can compete in a dynamic global economy. Our work at Tecconnect, in collaboration with our partners in the Regional Innovation Network of Southern Alberta (RINSA), is directly tied to supporting entrepreneurs of all business development stages within the community. 

Another area of focus in Fredericton was the work being done by economic developers to support Indigenous communities. Encouraging economic development, creating meaningful employment and identifying investment opportunities in Indigenous communities is a part of the ongoing process of reconciliation. We are proud of the relationships we have built with Blood Tribe Economic Development and Community Futures Treaty 7 to provide learning opportunities for Indigenous entrepreneurs and business owners in southern Alberta. Working in partnership, we have delivered training programs through the First Nations Youth Entrepreneurship Symposium and the Youth Entrepreneurship Summer Program while also offering space and support at the Tecconnect centre for entrepreneurship and innovation, where we hosted the First Indigenous Summit earlier this year. 

The EDAC conference also highlighted an increasing focus on sustainable development as concerns about climate change and government regulation on industry potentially have profound impacts on the flow of capital investment in our region. Integrated decision making that connects the important work of municipal planning and permitting with real estate and economic development is something that is already happening in Lethbridge to an extent, but was recommended as a key best practice to ensure a community is truly “business friendly.”

Recognition from your peers is always appreciated. After all, your peers live and do battle in the proverbial trenches alongside you and understand the work that you do from a unique shared perspective. It was my privilege to accept, on behalf of my team, an EDAC Marketing Award in the category of Single Publications Over Four pages for EDL’S “This is Lethbridge” series of publications that highlight our community’s economic strength and business diversity. This most recent recognition adds to a history of more than 20 awards that Economic Development Lethbridge has earned from regional, provincial and national organizations over the last 15 years.

We are in the business of building a community and are ready to embrace the opportunities that help us build a bright future. Together.

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