WINNIPEG – May 30, 2016 – Before Centrallia was even over, one Winnipeg firm knew they had tens of millions of dollars of business within reach thanks to the world’s best business-to-businesses speed dating conference, and similar stories are flowing into the host’s office at the World Trade Centre Winnipeg.
“We are hearing over and over again that these real face-to-face meetings, with real decisions makers, from real and legitimate businesses were leading to real partnerships and real deals,” said Mariette Mulaire, President and CEO of the WTC Winnipeg, the Centrallia creator and organizer.
Hundreds of entrepreneurs travelled from every corner of the earth to be in Winnipeg last week – coming from as far as Paris, The Pas, Sao Paulo, the Philippines and every place in between to find new business partners in face-to-face, speed-dating meetings. For 2.5 days, nearly 700 delegates, from 30 countries, carrying 23 different currencies in their wallets met and pitched each other on everything from avocados to yurts; from rocks that heal to apps that save lives; from solar energy to road construction, from beautiful Parisian-styled bras for women after breast cancer to funky furniture for the office.
Among them was Todd Habicht, CEO and President of HD-Petroleum that creates micro-refineries – about the size of tennis court – that can recycle waste oil from planes, trains, automobiles and industrial plants.
Mulaire says Centrallia is really the forum for the first “date” for many businesses and the chance to meet future business partners eye-to-eye and knee-to-knee, but it may take months of follow up and do the due diligence to get to the “married” stage.
“This was our third International Centrallia and we really feel like we’ve scored the hat trick this time. We screened business more thoroughly, made sure the CEOs, Presidents and decision makers were in the room and put some serious discussion on the table about how Manitoba can lead discussions on trade with Mexico and in the far North as climate change changes opportunities in the Arctic. Those improvements we know are leading to deals big and small, that will lead to more people creating more jobs in Manitoba,” she said.
It was the opportunities in the Arctic that really resonated and was profitable for Jessica Tennoff who has built a family business with her husband and son designing, constructing and selling yurts (large, strong, portable circular tents). She and her son Gabriel drove from Homer, Alaska and erected one of their Nomad Shelter Yurts on the floor of Centrallia.
“We took 25 orders right off the floor and the demo model went to Churchill, Manitoba,” Tennoff said. “It confirmed our expectation that there is a need for what we make in the north and that there are opportunities to partner with indigenous groups and cities; and extraction industries and tourism. We met people from Canada, Iceland and the United States who instantly understood how they could use our yurts.”
WTC Winnipeg is a member of the World Trade Centers Association, the leading international trade network, representing more than 300 World Trade Centres in nearly 100 countries. WTC Winnipeg provides support to Manitoba-based companies looking to grow their business and provides services to international companies interested in doing business with Manitoba companies.