Manitobans seeking the best time to capitalize on product innovation and business growth opportunities are encouraged to register for this year’s Capturing Opportunities conference in Brandon, scheduled for April 23 and 24 at the Keystone Centre, Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Rosann Wowchuk said.

“New product innovation, economic opportunities for business and communities and an exceptional chance to network with specialists and seasoned professionals can all be found at this year’s Capturing Opportunities event,” said Wowchuk. “This is Manitoba’s premier rural business and community conference for entrepreneurs, business and community leaders, private/public organizations, young people and volunteers.”

The minister noted this year’s program lineup includes timely and topical presentations in the areas of the emerging green economy, successful community economic development ideas, networking with professionals on new product and business ideas, and a variety of workshops on emerging industry trends.

With many young people already budding entrepreneurs and others preparing to enter the world of business, Capturing Opportunities offers programs designed specifically with youth in mind, the minister said. The Companies Program being presented in co-operation with Junior Achievement, the Young Entrepreneur’s Challenge sponsored by the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce and the provincial Student Business Plan Competition directed by Manitoba Education Citizenship and Youth will provide opportunities for young people to network with business professionals of all ages. These events will also help young business hopefuls to sharpen their skills and prepare for the challenging world of entrepreneurship, Wowchuk said.

The Capturing Opportunities Speakers Series features six internationally renowned speakers on leading edge topics of interest to business and community leaders.

The Pick and Pay Workshop Series lets delegates choose workshops based on their schedule and interest. The workshops provide the opportunity to access professional business advice, learn about emerging industry trends and how they will impact today’s business plans, find ideas for new and existing businesses and learn innovative ways to finance business ventures. Community leaders have the opportunity to learn how to build a sustainable community from one of Canada’s foremost experts on sustainable community development.

Manitoba’s Great Food Fight is making its third annual appearance with flavourful food ideas competing for recognition and the opportunity to bring new products to market, Wowchuk said. The one-day event will take place on Thursday, April 23 in the Pioneer Lounge of the Keystone Centre.

More program information on Capturing Opportunities is available from local Manitoba Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives offices, online at www.capturingopportunities.ca or by calling toll-free 1-800-933-9863.