One local business and a local individual have won at the Northern Business and Technology Awards

The awards were presented as part of the 8th annual Natural Resource Forum in Prince George called ‘New Partnerships, New Markets’.

Fort St. John’s Eagle Vision Video Production won the award for Technology Provider of the Year and Paulette Flamond, who owns Scoop Clothing and works at the Northeast Aboriginal Business and Wellness Centre, won the Mentor Award.

Fort St. John City Councillor Dan Davies was at the forum and says it was a pleasure to be at the ceremony and see the awards given out to the local winners.

Davies also says the forum outlined some major prospects for the northeast. He says a main focus of this year’s forum was the exporting of natural resources to Asian markets. Davies says several speakers discussed the importance of Asian markets to the province’s exports and how that area is coming close to surpassing the United States as a main trading partner.

One major point raised was how quickly the Asian demand for B.C.’s products is growing. Davies says back in 2005, approximately 17 per cent of the province’s natural resources were being exported to China, whereas that number has more than doubled in the past five years.

He says approximately 45 per cent of the province’s natural resources are now sent to that sole market and that number is expected to further increase significantly.

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Despite all the beneficial prospects for the province and the northeast, another focus point that was raised was the number of students – or lack thereof – receiving a postsecondary education in B.C.

Davies says various speakers addressed a skilled trades shortage and a lack of graduates in certain professions, such as engineering, which needs to be improved to better advance the province’s competitiveness in the world.