The Keating Millennium Centre hosted the Antigonish Business Forum on June 7. The event featured three panel discussions regarding local businesses and business improvement districts.

ANTIGONISH: An event on the local campus was an attempt to get the business community together.

Last week, StFX University’s Keating Millennium Centre played host to the Antigonish Business Forum organized by the Town of Antigonish, the Municipality of the County of Antigonish, the Antigonish Chamber of Commerce, the Antigonish Downtown Business Association, and the Eastern Strait Regional Enterprise Network (ESREN).

The morning event included three forums: an update on local business, a local business owners’ panel, and a discussion on business development featuring three representatives from other Nova Scotia municipalities.

John Beaton, CEO of the ESREN, said the point of the event was to bring local businesses together to talk about opportunities and challenges.

“One of the issues we’re focusing on is the potential for business improvement districts in downtown Antigonish,” he said.

“This is an expansion on that conversation. We’re bringing together the business community, we’re presenting the idea. We’re very neutral on it. We just want to know where the community sits on it.”

Beaton said there were some common themes throughout the morning, including the need for a collaborative work environment and the need to promote Antigonish in terms of its assets.

“We have a gentleman who is creating a report for us which we’ll present to the associated councils, the county and town,” said Beaton.

“With that, we’ll have some stakeholder engagement input into [whether] we proceed with a business improvement district or not and if not, what direction do we go.”

He described a business improvement district as an area where businesses make investments for things such as signage or an event coordinator, in hopes of generating more economic activity.