Manufacturers’ Executive Council pools northern business knowledge
Each month in Northern B.C. a tight-knit group of senior executives and business owners meet to share business goals, challenges and learnings as the Manufacturers’ Executive Council (MEC). This monthly meeting is led by a facilitator from Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters (CME) who guides attendees through the half-day session and holds them accountable to the goals, financial and otherwise, that they have set for their respective businesses.
“The biggest benefit I get from MEC is the wealth of knowledge and experience that is freely shared around the table,” said Gerry Friesen, president of FreFlyt Industries Inc. “Insight is shared on many things, everyone benefits from talking about WorkSafe, Indigenous relations, the legalization of marijuana and learning how others direct foremen and managers.”
Friesen has been a MEC member for several years and his Vanderhoof-based business has benefited from the monthly meetings and the relationships that have been built. Northern Development, through its Competitiveness Consulting Rebate program, offsets the cost of participation on MEC for seven local industry players, including Friesen. Participants receive 50 per cent of their costs in the form of a rebate.
“People share what’s happening in other industries and they also share personal challenges,” Friesen continued. “We talk about business partnerships and how to cope when things go south. We’ve had members go through divorces and we talk about how that impacts their life and business. We all help whoever is in a tough position at the time.”
It is evident that the relationships built during MEC meetings benefits the small group of members. This group of non-competing businesses decide together on welcoming new members and everyone has to agree to confidentiality as private information about business happenings are shared with the group and facilitator.
Since 2012, Northern Development has committed $94,156 to Northern B.C. businesses who participate in MEC. Investing in small- and medium- sized businesses in this unique way has been beneficial for all participants, as the collective knowledge shares insight on operational efficiency, profitability, capacity building, strategic planning, succession planning and numerous other relevant topics.