MANAGER’S DESK: Alberni Valley helps celebrate chambers of commerce

Provincial government, chambers work to make British Columbia more business friendly. Alberni chamber has a similar focus.

The Government of British Columbia  proclaimed the week of Feb. 20-24 as Chamber of Commerce Week in B.C., with Minister of Jobs Tourism and Innovation Pat Bell making the official announcement.

This proclamation confirms the vital role that chambers of commerce play in advocating on behalf of business in B.C. Through ‘Canada Starts Here: the BC Jobs Plan’, the province has invested in a series of economic actions to make British Columbia more competitive and business-friendly. These include a three-year extension of the $31 million BC apprenticeship training tax credit, a $3-million expansion of the Venture Capital Tax Program and a commitment to continue leading the country in regulatory reform reduction.

Small business is pivotal to the success of B.C.’s economy. Close to 400,000 small businesses make up 98 per cent of all businesses in the province and employ over a million people.

Here are some interesting facts about chambers of commerce in the province:

— The BC Chamber of Commerce represents about 32,000 businesses in B.C.

— Victoria is the largest chamber, with about 1,500 members.

— Stewart, Lytton and Falkland are the smallest chambers, all with about 15 members.

— In B.C., a small business is defined as one that employs fewer than 50 individuals.

—  The province has cut red tape by more than 42 per cent since 2001 and is the first government in Canada to enshrine in law the requirement to publish annual provincial reports about its regulatory reform program.

One of the many membership benefits of the Alberni Valley Chamber of Commerce is the service provided by bank card specialists Federated Payments. Their local sales rep, Neil Guatama, is going door to door now to explain the benefits and great rates they offer. Give Neil a listen and you may just be on the road to saving mega dollars. If you require further verification, just give our chamber office a call.

The chamber has partnered with the Women’s Business Network, BNI and Community Futures to stage the “Alberni Valley Business Fair”, taking place from 6-9 p.m. on Thursday, March 15 at the Italian Canadian Centre on Sixth Avenue in Port Alberni. More than 40 local businesses will feature their goods and services. Admission to the public is absolutely free. You may find out a lot about businesses you never thought existed in Port Alberni.

Offering outstanding customer service may be the only way your business can get a leg up on the competition. To that end, the chamber is sponsoring a special seminar on “The Art of Customer Service” presented by customer service strategist, Jeff Mowatt, May 2 at the Best Western Barclay Hotel. For more information and registration: www.jeffmowatt.com/seminar/public.html.

Thought for the Week:

In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.” — Bertrand Russell

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