DIEPPE, NB –April 23rd, 2012 – Well over 100 entrepreneurs, business people and economic development stakeholders – including more than a dozen from Prince Edward Island – gathered April 18-19 at the Ramada Plaza Convention Centre in Dieppe, N.B., to attend various conferences and training workshops as part of the Connect Atlantic: Ignite the Knowledge Forum.
This unique forum was the result of a 2011 survey of businesses and non-profit organizations in Atlantic Canada in regards to their practices in knowledge-based economy. The results showed a need for new technologies training; the forum therefore offered tangible and measurable solutions to the challenges identified by the survey.
The guest speakers – such as as Richard Fahey, senior vice-president of Strategic Development at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business, Jay Nicholson, associate vice-president of Personal Credit Sales at TD Bank and France Noreau, vice-president of Technology at Mouvement Desjardins – turned the participants towards a future filled with opportunities thanks to modern information technologies.
Among the numerous presenters and guest speakers were Islanders Francis Thériault and Christian Gallant, who spoke about various tools, sites and technological applications, both online and off, that are extremely practical and very inexpensive, if not free.
DEPTH AND VARIETY
Allister Surette, president and vice-chancellor of Université Sainte-Anne, main partner of the project, acted as master of ceremonies throughout the forum. « I was struck by the depth and variety of the lectures that were backed by the most extensive research of business reality. The success achieved is due to the eminent quality of the speakers who are specialists in their sector and is also due to the participants’ descriptions of the situation and their involvement in the debates.”
Many sponsors supported the project, thereby showing the importance of knowledge-based economy for SMEs. Many sponsors contributed not only by providing a significant financial support to the project but also a concrete experience of today’s market in various sectors.
The forum will lead to the creation of a tool box that will act as a regional interface for sharing best practices. It will contain tools that businesses will be able to use to help them better serve clients and improve their sales. Fueled by the survey results as well as forum feedback, this permanent online tool box will be created to allow SMEs and other organizations to fill gaps and advance in terms of knowledge economy activities. The tool box will also include a diagnostic tool that will allow businesses to compare their performance to the national average.
Connect Atlantic is an initiative of Université Sainte-Anne funded by the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency and implemented by the four Atlantic RDÉE under the direction of RDÉE PEI. The project, whose mission is to improve competitiveness and enrich Atlantic francophone businesses in knowledge economy, has three components: the business survey; the forum; and the creation of practical tools for businesses and local stakeholders.
CUTLINE: Allister Surette, president and vice-chancellor of Université Sainte-Anne, welcomes participants to the Connect Atlantic Forum in Dieppe, N.B.
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