By Ryan Kelly –
“It’s all about relationships,” quotes Peter Kenyon, speaker at the 2017 BREI Annual Conference in Edmonton. Kenyon detailed tremendous efforts of entrepreneurs in Australia that do not treat community as a client, rather a place where they are.
The conference featured fantastic speakers, including but not limited to international speaker Roger Brooks, CEO of RB International, and Clinton Senkow, COO of Influensive.
Brooks gave multiple case studies on businesses that think outside of the box and market themselves ‘differently’ than those around them. Communities must showcase what separates them from other locals. The adage “A Great Place to Live, Work, and Play” is overused and does nothing to sell a community. Rather, brand yourself in a unique way in order to truly attract and retain business and citizens.
Senkow focused on millennial entrepreneurs and what drives them to a community. He stated that millennials focus on environments that cater to business needs and environment as well as a place that is fun and inviting.
The conferenced ended with a keynote presentation by Doug Griffiths. Author of 13 Ways to Kill Your Community, Doug takes community building and works backwards from a failing community and what caused it to occur. These include 1) forget the water quality and quantity; 2) don’t attract businesses; 3) don’t engage youth; 4) deceive yourself; 5) shop elsewhere; 6) don’t paint; 7) don’t cooperate; 8) live in the past; 9) shut out your seniors; 10) reject everything new; 11) ignore outsiders; 12) grow complacent; 13) don’t take responsibility.
If you had to sum up the overall theme, it is community. How can your community adapt and evolve to be unique, inviting, and a pro-business environment? How can you revitalize your downtown core and create a multiplier effect with walking traffic? How can you think differently and market your community more effectively? This and more highlighted the excellent educational opportunities offered by BREI this year in Edmonton.
If you missed it, we are planning to have several of the speakers and attendees produce webinars throughout the next year on their presentations that will be available to all BREI members at no charge.