Close Encounters – Meet Your Match at Centrallia Manitoba

Image MBiz - CentralliaPublished: May 2014

Manitobans asked for their own business-to-business networking event, and they’re getting it this fall. Centrallia Manitoba is ready to do launch Oct. 8-9 at the brand new Club Regent Event Centre. World Trade Centre (WTC) Winnipeg and the Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce are presenting the event at the request of businesses that attended Centrallia 2012.

Modelled after France’s Futurallia international networking event, Centrallia was held in Winnipeg in 2010 and 2012. “We had people from all over the world that came here with that mindset of they want to grow their business and connect with new opportunities,” says WTC Winnipeg project manager Alberto Velasco. “In 2012, we had over 700 participants on the trade show and meeting fl oors. We had people coming from 35 countries, so it was a true global event.”

Afterward, when staff surveyed participants, the response was overwhelmingly favourable. Manitobans loved the platform, the concept and the experience. And they wanted a similar event to focus on the Manitoba business community.

Some participants reported that their best meetings were with local companies, and they said Centrallia introduced them to opportunities they didn’t even know existed. “Some found a potential partner located down the road, but didn’t know who they were or that there could be an opportunity there,” Velasco says.

Organizers expect about 400 participants from 300 Manitoba companies to take advantage of one-on-one meetings, informative breakout sessions, a trade show and networking opportunities.

Each business will have eight pre-qualifi ed meetings based on selection criteria they include in their online profi le on the Centrallia Manitoba 2014 website at Organizers are using Futurallia match-making software, and Velasco urges participants to provide as much descriptive détail as possible to ensure they make the best matches.

While business-to-business meetings will be the core events, Centrallia Manitoba is beefi ng up the value proposition. It’s including networking breaks throughout the program, as well as two networking receptions and three breakout sessions designed to provide expert insight into emerging trends. “The intention is to expose Manitobans to some of the market and economic trends that we are seeing, and that we would like them to also see so they can do the math and see where the opportunity is for each one of them,” Velasco says.

Breakout sessions will focus on procurement, northern Manitoba and European markets and the green economy. Procurement panel speakers will discuss major projects that are happening around Manitoba and explain the criteria businesses should meet to get onboard as suppliers or contractors.

Experts on northern Manitoba and the European Union will explain how businesses that build consortiums and partnerships will have greater success with those markets. And the green economy panel will look at how environmental responsibility has shifted from a trait companies should have to one they must have.

Centrallia Manitoba kicks off Oct. 8 with a lunch and keynote address. The speaker hasn’t been named, but Velasco says it will be someone special. “We really want to set the tone and bring someone who can help us get everybody excited and get their blood fl owing and get everybody hyped to connect.”

Sign up early — there’s a discounted rate for the fi rst 100 to register. And Velasco promises Centrallia will be hottest évent during Small Business Month. “We’re the forum people don’t want to miss this year.”

Link to original article: Close Encounters – Meet Your Match at Centrallia Manitoba (page 23)