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'Network Niagara' to offer local business collaboration opportunities

Fri, Jun 16th 2017 04:10 pm
Local businesses and associations are welcome to attend the first "Network Niagara" event, to be held from 5-8 p.m. Wednesday, June 21, at the new Brickyard Brewing Company in Lewiston.
The inaugural event, hosted by the Niagara County Builders Association with support from The Small Business Development Center and the Niagara River Region Chamber of Commerce, will offer an informal environment allowing local business communities to discuss similar challenges, and uncover new opportunities to collaborate, explained Lisa Churakos, executive officer of the NCBA.
She said the event will offer "a wide-open forum. It's going to be very relaxed, very comfortable. And it's going to be a lot of introductory conversations on what each of us do and how we serve our respective communities."
Churakos said all types of business associations and businesses are welcome to attend to "come and network."
In a press release, chairwoman Kristin Savard of Advanced Design Group in Lewiston said, "It's important that neighboring business communities and their respective associations work together to solve common challenges, leverage resources and uncover new ways to work together and find new opportunities."
"Network Niagara" is open to all Niagara Region businesses, regardless of industry, vertical and market segment served.
"We're all a part of a great economic ecosystem that supports the Niagara Region," Savard said.
Each participating association will have a chance to speak to attendees about serving their respective communities and membership. There will also be information available on resources offered by the Small Business Administration and the Small Business Development Center.
"There's a wealth of resources and knowledge in the Niagara Region to support the growth of our small business community, we just need to let people know about it," Savard said.
Registration for the event is required. The cost of attendance is $20 in advance or $25 at the door. To register, visit www.niagaracountybuilders.com/network-niagara.
NCBA is a nonprofit organization comprised of homebuilders, suppliers, landscapers - "anything to do with maintenance or repair or building homes and commercial property," Churakos said. She noted the association provides its members with opportunities for networking and training for code updates, as well as "generalized training to help them grow their businesses."
Churakos said the association is also "very active on legislative agenda that affects the industry."
The association also serves the community by suggesting its members for projects.
"As far as the community goes, if someone was to call us and they needed a contractor to put an addition on their home ... we would refer them to one of our members," Churakos explained.
Members undergo a thorough review process. She said the association only accepts members that have "outstanding professional references."
Also, those who wish to be a member have to be sponsored by a current member, "so someone who knows them, knows their work ethic, knows their reputation," Churakos said.
The "Network Niagara" event will serve as the first event held in the new BBC, a project worked on by a member of the NCBA, Churakos explained.
"One of our members, Jim Fittante of Fittante Architecture, played the lead role in managing that project from design to execution," Churakos said. "The owners did a lot of the building work, they did a lot of the hands-on work themselves, but Jim was responsible for helping them take their vision and bring it into reality through design."
For more information about the NCBA, visit www.niagaracountybuilders.com.
Tribune Editor Lauren Zaepfel contributed to this report.

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