The challenges of life are many and varied. The challenge for me today is to re-introduce to you, in 500 words or less, what is I believe, thanks to the contribution of many people, a new and improved Amherst and Area Chamber of Commerce. .
We no longer live in the economic environment of our grandparents, nor even our parents. Thanks to the technological advancements of the last half century our world has become a much smaller, harsher place in which to do business and we are forced to develop and adopt new tools and ways of doing business to ensure our survival.
The road to getting there began with acknowledging and accepting some of the realities of our situation; we are a small non-profit organization with a small budget and a large responsibility to our membership to provide them with specific business services and to provide them with value for money spent.
We have done much in a short period of time to make our Chamber a much more efficient and effective organization. We have brought our accounting in-house; and partnered with the local media in promoting our organization, this has been a huge saving for us; we hope that businesses will reciprocate back to our local media. To address our financial situation, the Awards Gala event was cancelled and all donations stopped. If we were, in fact, in a position to give monies out we would surely have reduced our membership fees first, rather than increase them, although this increase was decided in a 2009 AGM, it still leaves us less expensive than Sackville NB and below the average in NS. As we had done with the media, we moved to strengthen current partnerships and forge new ones.
Partnering and collaboration is key in all of our initiatives : the “Lunch and Learns”, Business Mixers and Events we are currently working on ; the development of long and short term goals ; and the promotion of non-profit and service groups as an integral and vital part of the Chamber. Come tell us what is on your mind at our Tuesday mornings coffee, All welcomed
The Chamber’s primary role is one of advocacy representing its membership on issues affecting business and the community including: the provincial, federal and municipal budgets, economic development issues, infrastructure and other areas that affect the member’s ability to grow and prosper. Education and networking are also important benefits of being a member of the Chamber.
The Chamber can accomplish what no business, no service organization or individual can accomplish alone. Our strength is not only in our numbers but the talent of our membership. Retired people with experience who wish to mentor others; young people interested in business who feel they have something to share will find a home with us.
Our Membership Launch is now, and will feature a picture project, and list benefits, services and discounts offered through the chamber, renew, signup and come meet the membership it will be good for your business.
I look forward to telling you, in more detail, in the weeks and months to come, about the initiatives we are taking to improve the economic environment for our membership and our community.
Submitted by President David Mosley.