Chambers of commerce are turning up the business heat this week, as the province celebrates a week of attention on the local associations that advocate for entrepreneurs.
"Chamber Week brings awareness to the important work these organizations do to stimulate local economies, promote their community, and engage in multi-level advocacy which benefits the entire province," said Jennifer Brandle-McCall, CEO of Prince George's Chamber of Commerce. "No other business organization can match this incredible network that stretches across the country."
A morning coffee session with Brandle-McCall was hosted on Tuesday, so members could spend some time chatting with their agency's boss.
Later in the day, Chamber officials spent time studying the provincial budget, looking for items that pertained to the north and the business community.
One of the biggest events on the local Chamber's calendar - the annual general meeting - is scheduled for today.
"It has become really well attended in recent years, with well over 100 people turning out," said Brandle-McCall.
An election of executive officers is part of the AGM process.
"We have six seats available and nine are confirmed running, plus the option of others from the floor joining the ballot that night, so it will be a meaningful election," she said. "Only two of those confirmed are incumbents so there will be definitely some new blood which is always a good thing, and a lot of the candidates are women, which is also nice to see."
The event runs from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Coast Inn of the North. It is free to attend, with each member in good standing allowed to cast one vote per position.
On Friday there was to be the next installment in the Chamber's "Leadership Dinner" series and the guest was to be MLA Pat Bell but for organizational reasons the dinner has been postponed. When the Chamber first booked Bell to speak, the topic was to be “Protecting & Growing B.C.’s Jobs” but the deferral (date to be confirmed) allows time for Tuesday's provincial budget information to sink in and form part of Bell's discussion. It was also unknown then that Bell's health had taken a turn causing the veteran MLA to withdraw from the upcoming provincial election, so that too may form part of his pending speech.
The Chamber is also a source for resources on how to prepare your business for the public-vote-ordered switch back to the PST from the HST system. The deadline to switch is Feb. 27 and for some businesses, this entails much work. Call the Chamber office or visit their website for more information.
"Chambers of Commerce support businesses through benefit programs, services and education," said Brandle-McCall. "Being community based means that Chambers are funded entirely by their members, events and sponsorship. This community investment is what drives Chambers of Commerce to directly support and stimulate local economies, and work collaboratively to create vibrant communities around the province."
Chambers also act as an active lobbying voice as well, she added, taking the accolades,criticisms and suggestions provided by local entrepreneurs and moving them into the ears of all levels of government.