Businesses hear of opportunities at upcoming Arctic Winter Games

Walter Strong/NNSL photo Jacob Klengenberg of Ulukhaktok carried the flag for AWG2016 Team NWT.

Walter Strong/NNSL photo
Jacob Klengenberg of Ulukhaktok carried the flag for AWG2016 Team NWT.

The business community has been given an outline of opportunities arising from the upcoming Arctic Winter Games.

Todd Shafer, the general manager of the 2018 South Slave Arctic Winter Games, led a delegation that appeared at a Feb. 22 meeting of the Hay River Chamber of Commerce.

Shafer noted the South Slave Arctic Winter Games’ board of directors has established purchasing policies that mirror the purchasing policies within the municipal councils of Hay River and Fort Smith, which are co-hosting the games.

“So any of our purchasing that’s going to be happening provides that 10 per cent local purchase driver,” he said. “We are set up as well to require quotations for any purchases under $20,000 and anything above that $20,000 standard we will be going out to tender or RFP processes.”

Shafer explained the games aim to be equitable and balanced in its purchases between Hay River and Fort Smith.

“Obviously, we’re still dealing with a bottom-line dollar figure that we need to stay within, but as much as we can we’re trying to stay equitable between the purchases that we do make in both communities,” he said.

Shafer noted there will be many opportunities for businesses to provide goods and services to the games.

However, he pointed out there will also be opportunities for businesses to donate to the games.

“The board of directors has recognized there are a number of businesses and organizations that want to contribute in-kind to the games themselves,” he said. “So there is an opportunity then for us to bypass a competitive process should a corporation come and say, ‘We’re going to provide this to you as an in-kind contribution towards the games.'”

For example, he pointed to a donation of a vehicle from Aurora Ford.

The games are expected to attract about 1,900 athletes, coaches and mission staff members – 1,100 to be accommodated in Hay River and 800 to be accommodated in Fort Smith.

There will also be 150 to 200 members of the media and 150 to 200 special guests and dignitaries.

Jason Coakwell, the treasurer of the South Slave Arctic Winter Games, talked to the businesspeople about spin-off opportunities from the event.

Coakwell noted that, while the host society will focus on the care and comfort of athletes, businesses will have a “big spin-off opportunity” with other visitors.

“We’re going to have 500 to 750 people – parents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters – coming to town,” he said. “Where do we put them up? Where do we feed them?”

Plus, Coakwell noted those visitors create an opportunity to promote tourism in the South Slave by introducing them to the region and encouraging them to return in future years.

Two representatives of the Yellowknife consulting firm Verge Communications also told the businesspeople about sponsorship opportunities.

Verge Communications has been hired to raise $2.5 million in sponsorship support for the games.

After the Feb. 22 presentation in Hay River, the Arctic Winter Games delegation attended a similar business opportunity information night in Fort Smith later that day.

–Paul Bickford