Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Portable pavilion helps promote

Firms will use setup to showcase products

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Manitoba "green" companies have a new tool to help them peddle their products to the world.

The Life Science Association of Manitoba (LSAM) has developed a portable and interactive business pavilion small and medium-sized firms in the biomass and biotechnology sector can use to help showcase their products at international trade shows.

The pavilion was designed and built with the help of a $250,000 federal grant from Western Economic Development (WED) Canada.

LSAM president Tracey Maconachie told a news conference Friday in Winnipeg the new pavilion, which is equipped with state-of-the-art sound and video equipment and small, private meeting areas, has already been used at three trade shows.

There are plans to use it again at the Globe 2014 Biennial Conference and Trade Fair on Business and Sustainability, which will be held next March in Vancouver.

She said before LSAM built the new pavilion, local biomass and biotechnology firms were more or less on their own when it came to marketing their products at international trade shows. In some cases, they would set up their own small booth, and in other cases, they would just walk the trade show floor trying to connect with potential customers.

Now, with a Manitoba pavilion to work out of, they will have a "more robust presence" at these events.

"It's a showcase," she added. "We wanted to create a brand for Manitoba... so people would know we're open for business."

Some of the federal funding will also be used to help local biomass and biotechnology companies develop their marketing initiatives and to train their marketing staff.

"We try to make sure what they're putting out there will drive their business," Maconachie added.

Biomass is leftover plant fibre that is used to manufacture innovative products such as biocomposite materials. With its strong agriculture industry, Maconachie said Manitoba has a unique opportunity to be a world leader in industrial biotech.

"We know life science companies create high-value jobs..." she said, "and we now have the tools to help these companies grow."

Federal Conservative MP Joyce Bateman (Winnipeg South Centre) announced the federal funding on behalf of Michelle Rempel, minister of state for WED.

"This investment demonstrates our government's commitment to supporting expanded market opportunities for western Canadian businesses," Bateman said. "Our investment will help to promote innovative products, and create new jobs and economic opportunities."

murray.mcneill@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 14, 2013 B7

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