Building Capacity to Meet Opportunity
The Deisleen Development Corp (DDC) is a federally incorporated not for profit community economic development agency with a mandate to create a positive environment for economic growth for the community of Teslin, Yukon, and surrounding area, and all people living in the Teslin Tlingit traditional territory. Specifically, the DDC’s role includes unearthing new economic development prospects, assisting in business development opportunities, setting up, administering and managing community economic development projects and initiatives, and generating new jobs.
In 2016, the DDC began to explore ways to increase the capacity of the business community to respond to upcoming construction opportunities and infrastructure projects. Construction and bidding capacity in the local contractor community was uneven, with some groups very sophisticated and others not quite as far along with their understanding of the process. DDC wanted to create more of a level playing field for contractors wishing to bid on these opportunities, as well as dispel some myths that appeared to be impeding fair and transparent competition in the area. Participants for the training would come from a wide variety of backgrounds, educational levels and understanding of competitive contracting principles. It was expected that both First Nations and non- First Nations contractors would attend, and the training would have to be face-to-face, partly due to the unreliable internet access in and around the Teslin area.
After some in-depth discussions, it became clear that the most appropriate option was to deliver two separate one day trainings in person, back to back, in the Village of Teslin which has a population of about 430. In March we delivered The Essentials of Contract Law, followed the next day by Preparing Bids and Proposals: A Supplier’s Competitive Edge at the Community Recreation Center in Teslin, about an hour and a half southeast of Whitehorse. The first day proved so popular that many showed up for day two even though they had not officially registered.
By bringing the training to the community, and by encouraging dialogue around the most challenging local issues related to construction and bidding, these sessions helped create a common foundation of good practice and legal understanding for those interested in bidding on the infrastructure opportunities. It was also of help for the larger organizations in attendance who would issue RFPs and Tenders from time to time. From the smaller mom and pop operations to the larger First Nations development corporations, participants appreciated the interactive format and frank discussions that took place over the two days. For many it was their first exposure to the legal realities of contracting, and all left with a much broader understanding of both the legal rigor and pro-active planning that must go into both issuing and responding to competitive processes.
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