The 2023 Nunavut Trade Show and Conference has come and gone, and organizers are happy with the way it went.

“I always say the next one is the best one,” said Chris West, the executive director of the Baffin Regional Chamber of Commerce (BRCC), the organization behind the popular Iqaluit event. “This one certainly met that.”

This was the trade show’s 30th annual return, and participation was up from previous years, according to West.

All told, it featured 104 booths, including a record 17 for artists.

“Normally we would have about 90 booths,” he said. “It’s a bit of increase there. This year we worked a bit harder on the art side too. There’s no organization in the region representing the artists, so we kind of reach out and make sure they’re a part of the trade show, so we have an artist section as well. We provide free booth space for the artists, and normally we would provide 10 spaces. This year we ended up with 17.”

Attendance was also up, with 400 delegates on the scene, and about 3500 people visiting the host Arctic Winter Games Complex and Aqsarniit Hotel and Conference Centre between Sept. 18 and 21.

“It’s become a lot bigger over the last number of years,” West said. “I think since Covid—this is our second event since—you can certainly see that people are eager to get back to face-to-face and back to talking about business in person.”

Planning an event of such a scale requires a huge investment of time and resources.

“It takes lots of time,” West said. “We start out with an idea, set a date, and then get into the nitty-gritty details. It takes quite a bit of planning.

“The trade show has a couple of different components. One of them is the trade show itself, and then the conference sessions, and there’s a social side of it as well. We have a number of evening events, the meet and greet, and we host the Qikiqtani Business Achievement Awards as well as a gala to wrap up the week.”

For West, the award ceremony was the highlight of this year’s event.

This year, the Baffin Business Development Corporation claimed business of the year honours, while Dr. Gwen Healey Akearok took home the business person of the year award, and Brian Twerdin and Elisapee Sheutiapik received lifetime achievement awards. Paul Dainton of Arctic Training Ltd. received the special achievement award, while Ranbir Hundal—nicknamed “Mr. Volunteer”—earned a special recognition award.

“I think my most favorite part is the Business Achievement Awards,” he said. “It gives us an opportunity to recognize some pretty key people in the region.”

West said he has already received positive feedback about this year’s event.

Hani Barento, the founder and owner of shipping company FriendshipFast, had a booth at the show, and said he enjoyed the experience.

“I did enjoy it very much in terms of meeting many people that I’ve served over the course of the year and hearing how happy they were with our mission and project,” he said.

“In terms of whether it was a success, it’s too early to measure that right now,” he added. “I’m optimistic that is was successful simply from the standpoint of getting more exposure for our company and networking with other businesses.”

Jean-Francois Doucet, a recruiter for Baffinland, was also staffing a booth at the show, and shared a similar assessment.

“The Nunavut Trade Show has always been an important event for me,” he said. “As a recruiter for Baffinland, my favorite part of the trade show is interacting with the public and sharing all the amazing things that Baffinland does.

“Really, I like telling people why I like working for Baffinland. During this year’s trade show, I spent a lot of time speaking with the public about the current job positions we have available, how our fly-in fly-out rotation works, what camp life is life and how great it is to have the three weeks off. I’m already looking forward to the next trade show.”

While this year’s trade show only just ended, West is already hoping next year’s event will surpass it.

“We’ve already started planning,” he said.

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