Trade show nurtures blossoming Kivalliq economy

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The Kivalliq Trade Show is more important to the region’s economy today than ever before, said Nunavut Development Corp. president Darrin Nichol.

The show wrapped-up its 10th anniversary gathering on a successful note despite Mother Nature’s un co-operative mood last week in Rankin Inlet.

Lee Kreelak, from left, mans the Agnico Eagle booth with Joseph Kablutsiak and David Ostie at the Kivalliq Trade Show in Rankin Inlet on Sept. 24.Photo courtesy of Noel Kaludjak

Nichol said the Kivalliq Trade Show Society does a wonderful job with the event, which people across the North look forward to attending every year.

He said although a few presenters had to fly over due to the thick fog that blanketed Rankin for a couple of days, everything else went well and the show’s 10th gathering was another great effort by everyone involved.

“We lost a few booths from Iqaluit to the weather but all the people who needed to be there, were there,” said Nichol.

“The show plays more of a viable role in the Kivalliq economy today than it did 10 years ago because the economy of the region has changed so much during that time.

“The whole territory has evolved and the commerce and trade that plays out now is essential at a number of different levels, and it’s never been more important to connect different businesses and merchants from around the Kivalliq – around the North for that matter – to come together and find ways to support each other, do business, source out new ways to make money and advance the bottom line of their operations.

“That’s critical right now because there’s so much going on. These are very exciting times.”

Nichol said it’s not so much about what you would have seen on the trade floor show 10-years ago compared to today, because there’s a whole-new vibe and attitude surrounding the Kivalliq economy in 2019.

He said there’s now a sense of optimism with the region’s economy that, arguably, may not have been that prevalent a decade ago.

“In many ways Nunavut, especially Rankin Inlet, are the envy of towns around the world, given the economic opportunity that exists here now that didn’t necessarily exist here 10-years ago or pre-Meadowbank (gold mine),” he said.

Arviat’s Chelsey St. John, from left, Chantel Kablutsiak, Nuatii Kablutsiak and Kristy King were on-hand to greet people at the table featuring Kayleigh’s Fashion and Sophia’s Outerwear during the Kivalliq Trade Show in Rankin Inlet on Sept. 24. Photo courtesy of Noel Kaludjak

“It’s amazing what’s happened and it’s critical that we continue to plug-in the various components of that – including governments,  small business people and the various chambers of commerce – to give them the opportunity to collectively gather to discuss issues on a business-to-business basis, and then open it up to the public to come in and observe who’s at work in our region.

“This trade show has always done a really good job of bringing-in the Kivalliq region every year, from Naujaat to Arviat.

“It lives up to its billing of being an amazing, truly regional trade show.”

Nichol said the dramatic change in the Nunavut economy during the past decade has brought with it a lot more engagement with Nunavummiut, Nunavut-based businesses and Inuit-owned firms in its ongoing development than what used to exist.

He said that engagement can only mean more good things ahead for the still developing Nunavut economy.

“This is commerce playing out in a free market and Nunavut-based businesses have been quite intuitive and aggressive in finding ways to take advantage of the opportunities that have presented themselves,” he said.

“And it’s not necessarily just about businesses. It’s also about individuals, the labour pool, and the emergence of the new Nunavut middle class that has money and will likely drive overall change in this territory for many years to come as a result of all this economic activity.”