Members of the Coldwater First Nation and the Upper Nicola First Nation attended the Aboriginal Business Match in Prince George recently.

The event focused on bringing bands together from 117 First Nations that arrived from throughout the province to learn from leaders in nearly 100 national and international companies.

“We had made a few contacts with groups that we’ve worked with in the past,” said Harold Aljam, chief of the Coldwater Indian Band. “You found out about each other and traded information.”

He said the experience was worthwhile and he will attend again.

Participants were taught how to find resources for projects, how to access new markets and how to investigate partnerships.

“It’s a great opportunity for companies to build new partnerships and expand their business portfolio’s,” said Kristin Quayle of Good Relation’s Inc.

The event is divided into three days consisting of one-on-one appointments focused on the “secrets” of successful business dealings.

“The event is more focused on networking, but education is also a component,” Quayle said.

The conference was organized with the intent to “explore opportunities and discuss new business venture.”

The massive event consisted of a total 1,550 hours of targeted business matching and 4,650 one-on-one meetings.

Dan Manuel, chief of the Upper Nicola Band, didn’t return phone calls by press time.

Stakeholders gathered for the event from Feb. 13 to 16.

The conference was co-hosted by Lheidli T’enneh Nation and the BC First Nations Industry Sector Councils, Aboriginal Tourism Association of BC and the BC Regional Program Management Advisory Committee. Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada also participated.

People can register for next year’s event at www.aboriginalbusinessmatch.com.