Business Beyond Borders

“Business Beyond Borders,” an international conference hosted by the Sault Ste. Marie Bi-National Alliance, took place for the first time on Wednesday, November 6th at the Kewadin Convention Center of Sault Ste. Marie, MI. The Bi-National Alliance was formed in 2018 when economic and community development organizations from the Twin Saults region joined forces to foster international economic development and a collaborative mindset of two nations, one city. The conference expanded on this concept, and brought over 100 businesspeople, elected officials, economic developers, and students together to have their questions answered on regional developments and opportunities, as well as conducting business beyond borders.


The day-long conference included a host of speakers, panels, and presentations that addressed the state of the regional economy, opportunities for local businesses, foreign trade zone updates, and progress on the Soo Locks expansion project. Keynote speakers were Mark Fisher, CEO of the Council of the Great Lakes Region, and Robert Kavcic, economist at the Bank of Montreal. A border discussion and Q&A was led by representatives of the Canada Border Services Agency, U.S. Customs & Border Patrol, and Cole International. A legislative update followed lunch, featuring U.S. Congressman Jack Bergman and presentations by senators Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, and Algoma Steel, Norpro, Main Filter, and Superior Fabrication held a roundtable discussion to answer audience questions on international business. 

Presentations from the event are available here:

Video presentation by Senator Gary Peters.

“Our city has immortalized the desire for international collaboration in our new Sault Ste. Marie Master Plan,” said Sault, MI Mayor Pro Tem Don Gerrie. “Requiring that city staff and elected officials meet with leaders from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario at least annually, to discuss goals, needs, and opportunities for alignment or mutually beneficial community and economic development investment. As our EDC’s penned in the memorandum of understanding together, we are indeed Two Nations, One City.”

The Bi-National Alliance is comprised of the Chippewa County Economic Development Organization, the Eastern Upper Peninsula Regional Planning and Development Commission, the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation of Ontario, and the Sault Ste. Marie Economic Development Corporation of Michigan. Plans are underway to make this conference an annual event for the region. If you would like to learn more, or would like to participate next year as a speaker or sponsor, please contact us at the information below.


View the 9&10 news coverage for the event here.

Video presentation by Senator Debbie Stabenow.

Economist Robert Kavcic presenting the Great Lakes Economic Update.