COLUMN: Economic summit connects business community

NANAIMO – Vancouver Island Economic Alliance summit featured notable speakers, including Premier Christy Clark.

By Sasha Angus

Another Vancouver Island Economic Alliance Economic Summit has come and passed, and this was again a successful event.

The 2013 State of the Island Economic Summit included, among others, such notable speakers as WestJet Encore President Ferio Pugliese, national columnist for the Globe and Mail Gary Mason, marketing and branding expert Roger Brooks, and B.C. Premier Christy Clark. This was certainly an event not to be missed.

This summit is the only event of its kind where, at a grassroots level, people in small business, large corporations, local government and professional associations from all over Vancouver Island can discover what is happening across industry sectors, ask questions and share ideas about the present and future direction of the island economy.

The VIEA Summit connects people who are participating with emerging issues and opportunities, while also increasing the understanding of needs and trends. This allows for the identification of priorities to help build a prosperous and sustainable economy.

The VIEA summit is widely considered to be ‘the’ business social event of the year on Vancouver Island.

The information that is discussed and rich opportunity for networking allows the attendees to stay ahead of economic trends.

The Vancouver Island Economic Alliance is all about collaboration. The summit themes are designed around feedback received through various meetings and conversations with Island stakeholders.

Thus, the summit sessions are filled with real information about real issues and opportunities affecting real life and the economy on Vancouver Island.

Those in attendance learned about these realities, and joined in the conversation.

For example, small business succession planning was a short time ago a theme discussed by only a few professionals who were in the know.

This is now a widely understood concern on Vancouver Island due in part to the economic summit. Two years ago, the future of transportation was a topic of interest at the summit. It is now recognized by diverse transportation stakeholders that a need exists for a long-term, comprehensive plan for inter-modal transportation within, to and from Vancouver Island. This resulted in the successful transportation session at this year’s summit.

There is no question that these summit gatherings have significant impact on our collective thinking – turning thoughts into actions.

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Sasha Angus is CEO of Nanaimo Economic Development Corporation.