Business Expo awards Elkhorn, Virden and Oak Lake entrepreneurs

The of Municipality of Souris-Glenwood, RM of Pipestone, Town of Virden, RM of Wallace-Woodworth, Town of Melita, Municipality of Grassland, RM of Sifton, and Municipality of Deloraine-Winchester came together to organize and facilitate the Southwest Business & Entrepreneur Expo

Samantha’s Boutique, an Elkhorn business, was a big winner at the recent Southwest Business & Entrepreneur Expo, receiving two cash prizes.

Another Elkhorn business, a new start-up, Blair Nolan’s Sub-Zero Refrigeration & Heating was awarded the Enns Brothers Ltd. Young Entrepreneur’s Award.

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Virden’s Ayana Wellness Studios received the Town of Virden award and the Oak Lake Community Development Board awarded a new business set to start in Oak Lake - Joe Dandy’s

This was the third year for the Expo, held Feb. 12 at the Enns Brothers Place, in Melita.

“The expo is geared to showcase numerous services available for entrepreneurs in different stages of their business life cycle,” stated chairperson, Iris Vercaigne, Economic Development Officer, Town of Melita.

The day was filled with speakers and exhibition booths, breakout sessions and awards. 

There were plenty of opportunities for business people to network…to discuss what had been learned and to unearth new business contacts. And of course, a delicious lunch was also on the day’s menu.

The formal part of the day kicked off in the gym with David Lipinski of Futurpreneur Canada speaking of the resources and funding available to people who are starting, or thinking of starting a business.

A half-hour ‘break’ followed. Time to visit the exhibitor display booths, then back to the gym everyone went!

This time, they found a panel discussion going on where Brooks White, Nathan Corrigal, Jill Caldwell and Mark Humphries conversed about what had helped them overcome challenges that potentially could have led to failure. 

While business people loaded plates with roast beef, salads and desserts, keynote speaker Julia Senchuk, a psychotherapist and instructor at Brandon University, set up for her address. She focused on the power of a positive mindset.

The rest of the afternoon consisted of breakout sessions. Charles Tweed led one about the effectiveness of social media; another session dealt with the importance of positive customer relationships; Puneet Biltwiwala and Jennifer Chant of Sunrise Credit Union walked through the steps of creating a business plan. Tiffany Cameron offered advice on choosing the right POS system – modern day cash registers!

While these activities were going on, small business owners nervously stood before three judges – Andrew Arksey, Cathy Seagrove and Brad Hack - to pitch their companies/business plans with the hope of receiving much-needed cash awards to help them in newly-formed businesses. 

All told, awards offering more than $10,000 was up for grabs!

This year’s winners were:

Community Futures Westman $1,000 - Best Pitch of the Day – Samantha’s Boutique

Enns Brothers Ltd. $250 - Young Entrepreneur Award – Sub Zero Refrigeration & Heating

Sunrise Credit Union $500 - Judges Choice – G.E.T. Glass

Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba $500 – IntelliFARM

Oak Lake Community Development Board $1,000 – Joe Dandy’s

Town of Virden $1,000 – Ayana Wellness Studios

Municipality of Wallace – Woodworth $1000 – Samantha’s Boutique

Melita & Area Economic Development Corporation $500 – Mama Stay at Home Yoga Studio

Melita & District Chamber of Commerce $500 + 1-year free membership – 83 Industries, Ltd.

Souris-Glenwood CDC$500 - Sound Business Model – Anastasia’s Serenity Wellness

Souris-Glenwood CDC $500 - Best Overall Presentation – Chabluk Service Repair

Souris-Glenwood Chamber of Commerce $250 + 1-year free membership – Chabluk Service Repair

Municipality of Two Borders $1,000 – The Den Designs

Other pitch prizes that were available but not issued due to ineligibility.

Next year’s event will be held on Feb. 10, in Souris; (





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