This is Chamber of Commerce Week in BC.
Chamber Week brings awareness to the work these organizations do to stimulate local economies, promote their community, and engage in multi-level advocacy that benefits the entire province. That’s the word from the Minister of Small Business, Coralee Oakes.
This year, chambers are celebrating the theme of “Empowering BC businesses” — a theme that highlights how chambers strive to empower and grow each business in their community. Every day, chambers actively strengthen local businesses through networking events, mentorship opportunities, professional development activities and other unique programming.
Whether hosting events and business awards, supporting young entrepreneurs through mentorship programs, or providing community-tailored support such as hospitality training in tourism communities, chambers are sharply focused on empowering each and every member business to succeed. Simultaneously, the chamber network — BC’s largest business organization — is advocating for policy changes to further drive local businesses’ success.
Oakes said that in the past year the BC government has worked closely with the BC Chamber of Commerce to ensure small businesses can participate in economic opportunities and that their voices are heard through participation on BC’s Small Business Roundtable. The chamber also helps business owners and their employees develop skills and promote the Canada BC Job Grant to its membership.
Nelson chamber executive director Tom Thomson said the week is about the membership as well.
“The chamber is only as strong as its membership, so it is really a great opportunity for our community to celebrate hard-working businesses that bring great ideas and entrepreneurial energy to our region. Small businesses make up a major part of Nelson’s business community and play a critical role in driving our local economy and creating jobs.”
The City of Nelson has always shown a true entrepreneurial spirit, a fact that is borne out considering the city has close to 1,300 business licenses issued annually, about 25 per cent more than most communities of similar populations.
Chamber President Ed Olthof notes that, “the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce volunteer board and membership work together for the common good of the community. As a member of the BC Chamber of Commerce, and the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce is part of active advocacy to support small businesses.” including:
• The creation of and implementation of B.C.’s Small Business Accord;
• The continued effort to reduce and relax red tape barriers that are slowing business growth;
• Continued advocacy for fair municipal business taxes.
As well, the Chamber is a dedicated advocate for small businesses at the local level. Olthof says “through our sector consultations, a regular consultation with the business community at the Economic Development meetings, or the Chamber 12 @ 12 round table discussions with businesses that help drive the economy, we are able to get a pulse on some of the challenges facing our business community. We are then able to take those concerns to the local, regional, or senior levels of government.”