Chamber all-candidates meeting set for Sept. 15

Kim Smythe

In light of the snap election call, the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce announced its one-night All Candidates Forum will take place on Wednesday, September 15. The Chamber has been organizing such presentations over the years, and they’ve become a mainstay on the periodic election scene locally.

“These are special times, so we’ve planned a special hybrid event – a mix of a limited live audience and live-streaming coming from the Shaw Auditorium at Vancouver Island Conference Centre,” according to Kim Smythe of the Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce. “We’ll invite questions in advance, and from the audience on-site, just as we usually do. We’re hoping all parties will accept our invitation and present their candidates for consideration in this forum. It’s really timed so that voters can use the event to help them make up their minds in the last week after a month of election promises.”

Information and details on registration for the live event, and access to the virtual event, will be posted on the Chamber’s website, social media channels and in local media.

Acknowledging Mental Health Week in BC

Hon. Sheila Malcolmson

The Nanaimo Chamber will present a panel discussion on mental health and wellness on Friday. The virtual panel will examine and discuss the impact of the pandemic on the mental wellness of our community – in our homes, our workplaces, on our streets and in the community around us. 

Psychologist Dr. Leanne Campbell will discuss the rising instances of conflict in homes and the workplace, along with the increasing demand for counselling services. She’ll also offer some pointers to relieve stress and help others find help when they need it.

Nanaimo’s own Medical Health Officer, Dr. Sandra Allison addresses community-wide issues facing Nanaimo, focusing on mental health on the streets and the opioid crisis among other public health issues. 

Minister of Mental Health and Addictions, Sheila Malcolmson will update us on provincial progress on the ministry’s core issues plus efforts to help stem the stress and pressures created by the pandemic.

Questions and ideas are invited in advance and will be moderated through the virtual platform. Chamber Members attend for free; the non-member admission price is $20. Register at nanaimochamber.bc.ca

 
Panel moderator is Kim Smythe of the Nanaimo Chamber.

Restaurant industry needs support

Kim Smythe

Chamber Executives from around BC met on Tuesday in our bi-weekly Chamber Coffee Chat. Of course, the main topic of conversation was the announcement by the Premier around new restrictions and closures – restaurants and pubs being the most controversial and challenging for all communities. We determined that we needed to speak on behalf of the industry and the tens of thousands of workers impacted so suddenly and drastically by the province’s announcements providing about eight hours of notice of the 100% restriction on indoor dining.

The frustration of business owners and operators could be felt in one of our member’s voices as he described that Monday morning he had placed an order for $11,000 for wine necessary to satisfy those dining out for Easter. The week previous he had place substantial orders for deliveries of fresh foods for later this week to hold him over the long weekend. I’m sure this story was repeated thousands of times by restauranteurs over the past couple of days. Unfortunately for most in BC, patios are not an alternative at this time of year. In Nanaimo, the Fire Department refused to permit propane powered heaters on any patio with a covering which would have been the only alternative during the winter months.

The repeated and sudden nature of closures and restrictions that provide no notice for the industry to adjust staffing, provision procurement, and credit/cash flow arrangements. The industry is operating in very stressful times since allowed to re-open to reduced capacities late last spring. In our community, a number have closed their doors permanently. I’m sure Chambers across BC would say the same things about their communities. 

We concluded through this discussion that three things should be considered going forward, and we hope you’ll share this with government to advocate for more consideration for the industry:

  • Businesses impacted (restaurants and pubs) need to be provided with guidance on how to seek support and funding to ensure they don’t lose their businesses. There must be recognition of the sudden impact on an industry already struggling under difficult conditions. Perhaps a special fund separate and distinct from the existing BC Recovery Plan funding.
  • There needs to be more transparency and clarity around the potential for changing conditions on businesses, industries and sectors that are in fragile or threatened territory already. Lack of communication around the decision-making process is resulting in mistrust in the process. We need more clarity, we need to know why, and we need to know how we can properly address the areas of concern for our region. (IE – is it in fact restaurants in all of BC where we are seeing the spike?)
  • Many Chambers would encourage reconsideration of a strategic, territorial approach when considering industry-wide closures. On Vancouver Island, our case count is fortunately very low and the chances of anybody ‘region-hopping’ for the sake of a dinner out would be extremely unlikely. Similar situations exist in the North and the Kootenays among other regions.

With the number of people living paycheque to paycheque or tipjar to tipjar, this situation is close to overwhelming for local economies. We can only hope that three weeks really does end up being three weeks!

For inquiries, conact Kim Smythe, President & CEO, e-mail ceo@nanaimochamber.bc.ca

 

Fireside chat with Opposition Leader Erin O'Toole

 

0324 - Official Opposition Leader Erin O’Toole is the feature guest in a Vancouver Island Fireside Chat on April 7 from 12 – 1 pm, as a guest of the Nanaimo & Victoria Chambers of Conference. The event is offered free to members of Chambers of Conference on Vancouver Island.

Canada’s Conservative Party has enjoyed high profile in the news lately, with their National Policy Convention held just last weekend and many media opportunities to champion their cause. March 23 was also ‘Opposition Day’ in Parliament which provided time in the spotlight for the leader and shadow cabinet.

O’Toole is noted to favour a ‘big tent’ approach to the current brand of the Conservative Party, providing him with a challenge to satisfy the political mood of a wide number of participants and a variety of interest groups. As expected, this has rallied a national chorus of both critics and supporters.

Those with their eyes on Ottawa predict a late spring election, so the political play of every leader should be drawing attention now. Register on the Nanaimo Chamber website for this one hour webinar now - www.nanaimochamber.bc.ca - $20 for non-members, free to Chamber members. Send your questions for Leader O’Toole in advance toinfo@nanaimochamber.bc.ca

The event is presented by the Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce and the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce with their CEO, Bruce Williams, moderating the Q&A and providing commentary. MNP is sponsoring this Vancouver Island-wide event held on the traditional territories of many First Nations peoples.

Board governance training with Deb McClelland

Back by popular demand -- Deb McLelland provides an overview of best practices in board governance to any and every non-profit board. Governance refers to the oversight of an organization. Best practices in governance means that a board ensures their optimal performance through the implementation of effective systems.
 
Deb’s several past visits to Nanaimo have put her in front of diverse board members and groups spanning arts & culture, social service, advocacy, sports, and philanthropic non-profits.  
 
These three 90 minutes sessions presented over three consecutive Fridays serve as both an orientation to good governance as well as a refresher for those who have previously received any governance training. 

Moving ahead on Business Improvement Area status

In 2019, the Chamber began working with merchants to organize a new non-profit society made up of downtown business operators and property owners. That status was granted by the Province in May of 2020 and the organization has applied to the city for BIA status. 

Now, it’s up to downtown property owners to decide if the BIA will go ahead. They have the choice of supporting a levy on their properties to financially support the BIA. Funds collected would be reinvested wholly in improving the chances of success for downtown businesses. Programming and planning for downtown would focus on attracting shoppers and visitors by providing attractions and events to animate downtown streets. MORE 

Watch the movie.

Chamber lobbying pays off for Island bus service

The Nanaimo and other island Chamber of Commerce have been hard at work over the past year advocating with all levels of government.

In mid-February, it was announced inter-city bus service run by Wilson’s Group would be suspended, jeopardizing the sole source of transportation for many Island communities and 21 First Nations. We immediately launched our advocacy action in a letter-writing campaign to the Premier, Minister of Transportation, and most Island MLAs to help save this Island business and restore their vital service citing numerous reasons for special consideration.  

This week the government announced it was doing just that - $10.7 million in operating grants from the Provincial Government to inter-city bus operators across British Columbia.

 

Inspiration and motivation event series Feb. 25

 

Presented by TELUS Business - A crisis is sometimes the only way massive change happens. Why? Because of one word: necessity. When there is necessity, change happens. Period. In every problem, therein lies the next solution. And in every solution, therein lies the next big opportunity.

People often struggle to find their emotional center in the best of times, let alone in uncertain, chaotic times. And far too often, fear, anxiety and worry take over. These emotions can paralyze us and steal from our focus, our good habits, and our sense of peace and purpose -- our well-being. Right here, right now, you are given an opportunity to level up. The question is, are you willing to leverage this opportunity? 

Isabelle Mercier-Turcotte is a 'no-nonsense' dynamo, born to catapult couple-preneurs, entrepreneurs and heart-centred leaders to build infectious and impactful brands, businesses and lives. As one of North America?s Top Business Influencers; best-selling author, TV show host, and TEDx Speaker with over 2.5 Million views, Isabelle?s sole purpose is to empower 10 Million Entrepreneurs to operate and live by design, not by default.

People often struggle to find their emotional center in the best of times, let alone in uncertain, chaotic times. And far too often, fear, anxiety and worry take over. These emotions can paralyze us and steal from our focus, our good habits, and our sense of peace and purpose -- our well-being. Right here, right now, you are given an opportunity to level up. The question is, are you willing to leverage this opportunity? 

Participants will:

1.Understand where fear comes from and how fear can be transformed from paralyzing energy into proactive and creative fuel to take your business to the next level of service and impact.
 

2.Discover the single most important question that needs to be answered to stay inspired, focused and empowered to grow and thrive despite change.
 

3.Three pivotal shifts to help you stay focused and empowered to grow and thrive despite turbulent times. 

 Mindset Over Matter is about learning what it takes to PLAY TO WIN rather than PLAY NOT TO LOSE. Prepare to be entertained, inspired and ready to take pivotal action from valuable, real-time coaching. 

Questions for mini-survey (A must to attend)

The Nanaimo Chamber is collaborating with LeapZone Strategies to create impact by providing entrepreneurs no-nonsense tools and strategies to help you master the skills and the mindset you need to grow your brand and business despite change. LeapZone's presentations are impactful as a result of their practical teachings and ability to answer your burning questions and provide real-time coaching to help you create immediate clarity, pivotal shifts and momentum.  

ISABELLE MERCIER-TURCOTTE
Brand Positioning Strategist & Business Growth Catalyst
Isabelle Mercier-Turcotte is a 'no-nonsense' dynamo, born to catapult couple-preneurs, entrepreneurs and heart-centred leaders to build infectious and impactful brands, businesses and lives. As one of North America?s Top Business Influencers; best-selling author, TV show host, and TEDx Speaker with over 2.5 Million views, Isabelle?s sole purpose is to empower 10 Million Entrepreneurs to operate and live by design, not by default.

Fireside virtual chat with Jobs minister

FREE CHAMBER WEEK EVENT WITH THE HON. RAVI KAHLON 

We're thrilled to announce that next week, the Hon. Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Jobs, Economic Recovery and Innovation, will be joining the Chamber network for a fireside chat on Wednesday, February 17th from 10:30am-11:00am.

Registration deadline Tuesday, February 16th at 12pm PST.

Register here

Inspiration and motivation virtual event

“MINDSET OVER MATTER”
 3 PIVOTAL SHIFTS TO STAY PRESENT, FOCUSED AND EMPOWERED TO GROW AND THRIVE DESPITE CHANGE…

 Presented by Telus - Isabelle Mercier-Turcotte is a 'no-nonsense' dynamo, born to catapult couple-preneurs, entrepreneurs and heart-centred leaders to build infectious and impactful brands, businesses and lives.
Register here

Provide your voice to the provincial government

The survey is in direct partnership with InnovateBC, the provincial crown agency, and will feed directly into recommendations for the provincial government on how to help businesses adopt new tech and scale during the pandemic.  

We’d love Nanaimo’s voice to be represented in the feedback delivered to government – Vancouver Island is a critical region for innovation in BC.

The survey closes February 19th, 2021.

Take the survey

Small and medium business recovery grant

SMALL AND MEDIUM SIZED BUSINESS RECOVERY GRANT

 Grants of $10,000 to $30,000 are available to small and medium sized B.C. businesses impacted by COVID-19. An additional $5,000 to $15,000 grant is available to eligible tourism-related businesses.  

The program runs until March 31, 2021 or until the funds are fully allocated, whichever comes first.

APPLY ONLINE

 

Grants available for small and medium businesses

Small and Medium Business Grant Program
The Small and Medium Sized Business Grant Program was first launched in October 2020 by the Province of BC. After listening to businesses, business leaders, and many others, they have made it available for more small and medium sized businesses. 
Grants of $10,000 to $30,000 are available to small and medium sized B.C. businesses impacted by COVID-19. An additional $5,000 to $15,000 grant is available to eligible tourism-related businesses. 
The program runs until March 31, 2021 or until the funds are fully allocated, whichever comes first.
The first step is to apply for funding online on the program website. Included in the website is a subscription button so everyone can easily stay up to date, and  program information is now in Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, Punjabi, French, Spanish, Tagalog, Farsi, Korean and Vietnamese.
The following Youtube video provides a summary of the Grant Program: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEwR9hkbGP4

The Building Resilience to Thrive Program is back

The Building Resilience to Thrive Program is back with third and fourth workshop cohorts teaching businesses critical leadership and resiliency skills. 
 
This program has been valued at $700, however, the cost to participate is only $35 for Chamber members and $70 for non-members. Right now, new and renewing Chamber members will be reimbursed for registration.  
 
The program will help you: 
  • Communicate and connect more openly with your employees
  • Be a more productive, empathetic leader
  • Efficiently host team meetings to encourage dialogue and idea exchanges 
  • Build a better workplace culture and team mentality 
  • Strategize new approaches to servicing your clients 
 
Cohort 3 will run Wednesdays from 11 a.m. - 12 p.m. PST, February 24th to March 31st, 2021. Registration for this cohort closes on February 18th at 4 p.m.
 

Chamber of Commerce building on Bowen Road is sold

The Nanaimo Chamber has accepted an offer to purchase 2133 Bowen Road, signalling next steps in the Chamber’s strategic growth plan,” says board chairman Shawna McPhillips.

The Chamber acquired the property in 2003 and constructed the building mostly with donations and contributions from a broad cross-section of businesses in Nanaimo. It has been a place of pride for the business community, the Chamber’s base of operations and a member meeting-space for nearly two decades", McPhillips said.

CEO Kim Smythe said “It’s a great building that has served the needs of the Chamber well since 2004. However, our strategic planning over the past several months tells us the time is right to review our service delivery to the community, to align with the new Nanaimo Economic Development Plan we helped create, and to consider how the Chamber participates in downtown revitalization as part of that Plan.”

Covid has had a huge impact on business practices in our community. The Chamber has successfully pivoted to secure our financial foundation and end on a positive note in 2020.” Smythe pointed out. Sale of our building allows us to leverage the Chamber’s original legacy into new investment opportunities. It’s time to move forward.

https://www.boardoftrade.com/events/individual-events/1917-6656#.X_eucGP4Spo.linkedin

Learn critical leadership and resilience skills

Start 2021 off right by registering for the Building Resilience to Thrive Program.

The program will help you: 

  • Communicate and connect more openly with your employees
  • Be a more productive, empathetic leader
  • Efficiently host team meetings to encourage dialogue and idea exchanges 
  • Build a better workplace culture and team mentality 
  • Strategize new approaches to servicing your clients  

While this program has been valued at $700, the cost to participate is only $35 for Chamber members and $70 for non-members. Right now, new and renewing Chamber members will be reimbursed for this program. 

Can't attend the second cohort? Mark your calendars: the third cohort runs every Wednesday from February 24th to March 31st. Registration will open soon. 

View the curriculum
Register here

Webinar looks at federal funding for virus response

0107 – Event by Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce

Online: members.nanaimochamber.bc.ca

Tuesday, January 26, 2021 at 10 AM PST – 11 AM PST

Price: Free · Duration: 1 hr

Public  · Anyone on or off Facebook

As we've moved through the pandemic, various federal funding programs have been developed to assist businesses and individuals. 

In this webinar, CRA Liaison Officer, Matthew Hohnsbehn, walks us through the various programs highlighting their benefits and impacts. He'll be joined by MNP Senior Manager, Cara Light, who will provide a perspective from the private sector. Our moderator, Dan Kucherka, CA and Chamber Board Treasurer, will facilitate a question and answer period. 

​Ensure you're taking full advantage of the programs available, while taking steps to avoid placing yourself or your business in a tax liability position as a result of participating in these benefits programs. 

Register Here: https://members.nanaimochamber.bc.ca/.../cra-webinar-2343

Please Note: This is a paid event. Registrants will receive an email with a link to join this webinar prior to January 26th. 

Deadline nears for Building Resilience training

0105 - Jan 8 is the deadline for registering for the Building Resilience to Thrive program which teaches businesses how to re-engage their customers, adjust their workplace cultures, and adapt their business models.

The second cohort of the  six-week online training program, developed in partnership with UVic's Gustavson School of Business, offers an opportunity for business leaders to obtain professional development from award-winning educators at a time when budgets are tight.

The program features six, one-hour weekly webinars delivered by Dr. Mark Colgate and Prof. Brian Leacock, including:

The Power of Context & Unconscious Bias – Build workplace diversity and strength

Emotional Intelligence ­– Recognize, understand and manage the emotions of yourself and others

The Power of Coaching in Business – Develop and draw on the strengths of your team

Hiring and Managing a Diverse Team – Discover diversity leading to innovation and creativity

Improving Customer & Colleague Experience – What creates a desirable and memorable experience

Adapting Service Strategies – Define perspective, position, plans and patterns

This second cohort for this program runs from Jan. 12- Feb. 16 Tuesdays from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. PST

Registration fees are $35 plus tax for Chamber members, and $70 plus tax for future members.  New Chamber members, and members renewing membership, will be reimbursed upon completion of this certificate program. Contact the Chamber for details.

Start the new year off right with resilience to thrive

BUILDING RESILIENCE TO THRIVE teaches businesses how to re-engage their customers, adjust their workplace cultures, and adapt their business models. This six-week online training program, through the Chamber of Commerce was developed in partnership with UVic's Gustavson School of Business, with an opportunity for business leaders to get professional development from award-winning educators.  

The program features six, one-hour weekly webinars by Dr. Mark Colgate and Prof. Brian Leacock, including:

The Power of Context & Unconscious Bias
Build workplace diversity and strength

 Emotional Intelligence
Recognize, understand and manage the emotions of yourself and others

The Power of Coaching in Business
Develop and draw on the strengths of your team

Hiring and Managing a Diverse Team
Discover diversity leading to innovation and creativity

Improving Customer & Colleague Experience
What creates a desirable and memorable experience

Adapting Service Strategies
Define perspective, position, plans and patterns

The second cohort for this program runs from Jan. 12 - Feb. 16, Tuesdays from 11 a.m. – 12 p.m. Registration closes Jan. 8. Register now.