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Northern Ontario businesses serving the natural resources sector have something to look forward to November 11 to 13.The business alliance forum Naturallia is back for its fourth year in the region – this time in Sudbury – after successful years in Timmins and Sault Ste. The Sudbury edition will be focussed largely on mining supply and services, although companies in manufacturing, smart energy development and forest products and services will also be attending.

They aren't looking for romantic relationships, though.

Instead, they're working on business relationships. On Thursday, November 12th, 2015, the 2015 Manufacturing Matchmaking event took place at the i Wireless Center in Moline.

Organizers describe it as "speed dating for manufacturers." "We have this really great mix of both big companies and small companies and so today we wanted to make sure we could get them all in a room and try to establish some new growth opportunities," said Amy Fitzgerald, Marketing Manager for the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center, or IMEC.

The event was organized by IMEC, the Quad Cities Chamber, and the Iowa State Center for Industrial Research and Service.

More than 40 local manufacturers participated in 9, 15-minute sessions with businesses that supply goods and services.

"There's an amazing number of suppliers in the Quad City Region and even beyond that we're not aware of and for us to find potential new partners is a really good advantage to do it in a setting like this," said Adam Judd from KONE."We wanted to come out here and promote more of what we do, but get to know a little bit more about what some of the other people in this area provide for products and solutions as well," added Keith Gerks from Crawford Company.Overall, there were more than 300 conversations in a little more than two hours.Fitzgerald said the result of the event, which takes place in other parts of Illinois, is usually positive."So far, we have had a few companies reporting great improvements in sales - both new and some retaining from these meetings," she explained."In some cases, there are also some new jobs or retained jobs just from having to meet the capacities and demands they have from that new customer." The Manufacturing Matchmaking event is also part of the Quad Cities Manufacturing Innovation Hub's goal to connect local manufacturers and create awareness of regional manufacturing capabilities.