KANAVA Conversations 2.0


Happy Year of the Rooster! As we begin the Lunar New Year, which started on January 28, 2017, we at KANAVA International would like to wish you a happy and prosperous new year. We also want to tell you about some additions we are making to our KANAVA website and Facebook page to provide more information to communities to facilitate economic development and enhance cross-cultural understanding and knowledge.

As many of our followers already know, we are an international company based in Arlington, Virginia, but we also have strong roots in Sault Ste. Marie (the” Soo”), Michigan, in the Eastern Upper Peninsula (EUP), where I was born and raised, and where we opened an office in February 2014.

In the last two years, we have learned a lot about rural economic development, in general, as well as the special challenges local communities face. For example, in the EUP, people are spread out over long distances, and the weather can sometimes disrupt travel.

In 2015, we started KANAVA Conversations in the Soo as a service to the local community to provide useful information for non-profits and small businesses, beginning with our first complimentary trainings on Diversification of Funding and Strategic Planning in October 2015. In March and June 2016, KANAVA provided two special events on “Hosting International Visitors” and “From the EUP to the EU: Doing Business in the European Union.” The latter was presented by a Senior International Trade Specialist in the Office of the European Union of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

During 2015-2016, KANAVA held multiple conversation events around the Soo on topics, such as on collaboration, generating cash flow, social media, starting a non-profit, and best practices for non-profits. These events not only provided useful information for the community of non-profits and small businesses, they also offered a forum where people in the EUP could connect to help each other – sharing information and helping to solve local problems. We found, however, that we could not reach as many organizations as we thought could benefit from the information and networking opportunities. People who were interested in the topics were often too busy running their local businesses and non-profits or too far away to attend, and once there was a blizzard that impacted travel!

So, this year we decided to increase our community outreach by building on our website blogs at KANAVA Global Connections and to regularly feature KANAVA Conversations on the KANAVA Facebook page on a variety of topics of benefit to both non-profits and small businesses in the local Michigan area, as well as our international friends, clients, and followers. We will also continue to post on global issues, many of which are relevant and useful to Michigan readers. As a global community, we all face similar challenges to promote economic development and serve our local communities, so there is much we can all learn from each other.

Some of the areas we will focus on this year include accounting and financial information, IT security and operations, education and training, innovation and entrepreneurship, historical and cultural perspectives, trends and the future, management and operations, and economic development. Two of the special topics we will write about include the Makers Movement, which is energizing local economies, and Sustainable Tourism, which approaches tourism as a long-term and beneficial economic development strategy for communities with natural assets that they want to share, but also want to maintain and preserve for future generations. We will also share information on upcoming events in the EUP in particular to help spread the word about local events relevant to economic development.

The other thing we would like to do this year is to spotlight small businesses and non-profits in the EUP and beyond as examples of success and perseverance from which we can all learn.

If you have topics of interest, you would like us to address that would be beneficial, or if you know of an organization that we might highlight, please let us know at info[at]kanavainternational.com.

Best Wishes for the New Year!

Susan Puska

Kanava International