News Release: BC Gov News Victoria Sunday, October 29, 2023 9:00 AM (https://news.gov.bc.ca/releases/2023JEDI0065-001657)
Small businesses throughout British Columbia will soon be able to apply for funding to help recover costs from vandalism, and for vandalism prevention.
“Small businesses are the foundation of B.C.’s economy, and we are taking action to maintain a thriving business community,” said Brenda Bailey, Minister of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation. “Supporting small businesses with this rebate helps provide some relief for the costs they’ve taken on through no fault of their own.”
Applications for the new $10.5-million Securing Small Business Rebate Program open on Nov. 22, 2023. Businesses will be able to apply for as much as $2,000 per business for the cost of repairs due to vandalism, and up to $1,000 for prevention measures. Applications are retroactive to Jan. 1, 2023, to help businesses recoup costs incurred this year.
“As a business owner, the costs of property damage have been very frustrating and I'm glad to see government support on the way,” said Vince Marino, owner, Junction Public House in Vancouver. “This new rebate is a great step forward and will be very appreciated by small business owners throughout B.C.”
The Securing Small Business Rebate will be administered by the BC Chamber of Commerce. Starting today, small business owners can learn more about their eligibility and how to apply for the rebate here: https://bcchamber.org/securing-small-business-rebate
“The BC Chamber of Commerce is pleased to have been selected as the successful partner to administer the Securing Small Business Rebate Program,” said Fiona Famulak, president and CEO, BC Chamber of Commerce. “Small businesses in rural and urban communities across B.C. are the backbone of our provincial economy. This rebate program is an important and welcome step that will help defray expenses that have been incurred by small businesses that have been vandalized, or that want to mitigate the risk of vandalism.”
The Securing Small Business Rebate Program is an example of the Province’s ongoing support for small businesses, which has included allowing access to wholesale liquor pricing, a permanent cap on fees charged by food-delivery companies, and Premier David Eby’s advocacy to the federal government to extend Canada Emergency Business Account loans.
Support for businesses is part of StrongerBC Economic Plan, which is moving British Columbia forward by tackling the challenges of today, while growing an innovative economy that works for everyone.
The Securing Small Business Rebate Program builds on the work the Province is doing to build safe and healthy communities through the Safer Communities Action Plan by strengthening enforcement and leveraging mental-health and addiction services.
The rebate will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis for eligible applicants, and delivered by the BC Chamber of Commerce, which won a competitive bid process to deliver the program. Eligible prevention measures include the purchase and installation of security cameras or gates. Eligible vandalism repairs could include work undertaken to replace broken glass and remove graffiti.
Media Contact Ministry of Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation Media Relations 250 883-2068
Learn about the StrongerBC Economic Plan: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/plan
Learn about the Safer Communities Action Plan: https://strongerbc.gov.bc.ca/safer-communities
Read the premiers’ letter to the prime minister: https://news.gov.bc.ca/files/Premiers_Letter_to_PrimeMinister.pdf
Nominations for the 2023 Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce Awards are now open for a seven-week period from Monday, September 25 to Friday, November 10, 2023. The online nomination form can be accessed via our main website.
Starting in 1974, the Chamber Awards has recognized the accomplishments of businesses, organizations, and individuals who have contributed greatly to make the Comox Valley an amazing community.
Award categories have been added and retired, expanded, and revisited but the Chamber Awards have always been about excellence and service. There are 15 categories to nominate in and 16 Awards in total including Business of the Year, Small Business of the Year, New Business of the Year, Young Entrepreneur of the Year, #yourock Youth Award, Family First Award, Land of Plenty Award, Diversity and Inclusion Award, Sustainability Award, Not For Profit Organization, Customer Service, Heritage Recognition, Business Leadership, Lifetime Achievement Award and finally the President's Merit Award.
The Chamber has put in place a grassroots nomination process that does not allow for self-nominations. All nominations come from businesses and individuals in the community that feel the nominee needs to be recognized. The Chamber Awards are open to chamber and non-chamber members.
After the nomination deadline, all submissions our handed over to an esteemed panel of judges comprised of diverse business leaders from the community. They then narrow the nominations to three finalists and then finally a vote to determine the winner for each award category.
The recipient is kept under lock and key until all winners are announced. Public can join the Chamber Team to celebrate the winners and their achievements as they are awarded at the annual Chamber Awards Gala dinner scheduled to take place on Saturday, January 24, 2024, at the Florence Filberg Centre. Tickets to be released later this fall.
While being nominated brings a wonderful boost for a business or individual, there are various other ways to promote your business by aligning with the awards as a category sponsor or major events sponsor. Contact the team at email@example.com to learn more.
Your new Comox Valley Chamber Team from left to right: Membership & Events Coordinator, Kerry Ann Griffiths, Executive Director, Tracey Clarke and Communications Director, Brooklyn Galloway.
The Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce has been building with excitement to share our most recent news. This past month a talented new team has been assembled and has now come together to further sustain and grow the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce (CVCC).
We are pleased to welcome acompletely new Chamber trio comprised of the Executive Director, Tracey Clarke, Membership & Events Coordinator, Kerry Ann Griffiths and Communications Director, Brooklyn Galloway.
As a new team, we will continue the Chamber’s work of contributing to the Comox Valley’s diverse economic strength by influencing decision-makers, and educating, connecting with, and engaging communities.
We look forward to moving ahead on revitalizing services to our Membership and the business community as a whole.We will strive to foster a positive and welcoming business environment by providing leadership connections, advocacy, and valuable services that create a prosperous economy. In addition to this big news, we have many exciting initiatives already underway along with many notable happenings to mention.
Executive Director, Tracey has been busy with many advocacy and professional development opportunities on behalf of the local business community including Executive Round Tables firstly with Honorable Brenda Bailey, Minister for Jobs, Economic Development and Innovation and Honorable Ronna-Rae Leonard. The second was with Kevin Falcon, Official Opposition Leader for the BC United Party.
Upcoming engagements we will be participating in include Phase 2 of the Regional Engagement in Duncan: Addressing the Labour Market Gap, Canadian Chamber Executives Conference and Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual Conference and Policy Sessions, both in Calgary. Additionally, Tracey will attend the VIEA State of the Island Economic Summit in Nanaimo and a Premier and Cabinet Luncheon in Vancouver, hosted by the BC Chamber of Commerce.
Ongoing, the team has been tirelessly working on implementing a new Member Data Platform to integrate many of our digital tools while also giving our members a more unified experience. We are very excited to evolve and share this new member experience with our membership when we launch this fall.
Also coming up, is our next edition of Business After Business. This mixer will be our first event as a newly formed team. It will also be our our first opportunity to meet all of you, our Membership, in person. The networking mixer will be hosted by RLR Lawfeaturing a glass of 40 Knots White Seas, light appetizers, door prizes and the beautiful sounds of Joe Abbott on acoustic in the beautiful vineyard setting of 40 Knots Winery. We hope you will come out and say hello. Registration is available online.
And finally, anannouncementto launch theCVCC 2023 Chamber Awards recognizing the accomplishments of businesses, organizations and individuals who have contributed greatly to make the Comox Valley an amazing community. Our online nominations forms are being accepted for a six week period starting Monday, September 25 through to Friday, November 3, 2023.
Award winners will be announced at their Annual Chamber Awards Gala Dinner set to take place on Saturday, January 27, 2024 at the Florence Filberg Centre. Tickets will go on sale later this year.
VANCOUVER, B.C., September 14, 2023 - “On behalf of the 100 chambers of commerce and boards of trade that we represent, the decision by the Government of Canada to provide additional flexibility for the repayment of CEBA loans is good news. Access to a term loan with a lower interest rate and the ability to repay the loan over three, rather than two, years will be helpful for small businesses that continue to struggle to recover from the devastating effects of the pandemic.
That said, more could have been done to address the needs of businesses that are at risk of losing the forgivable portion of their CEBA loan. Members of the BC Chamber of Commerce passed a policy resolution1 in June seeking a loan forgiveness extension of one year, for those unable to repay the balance due by the December 31, 2023, deadline. While today’s announcement provided a modest extension, we are concerned it will not deliver what many businesses need. The BC Chamber of Commerce will continue to advocate for its members and champion the needs of business in British Columbia.”
The Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors is pleased to announce that Tracey Clarke is our new Executive Director.
A long-time resident of the Comox Valley, Tracey is an established community leader through her work experience and volunteer contributions. She has practical experience dealing with and responding to business members’ issues and concerns; she has successfully advocated on behalf of business to various levels of government.
Tracey demonstrates an ability to build community via collaborative partnerships and innovative events and programs. She has experience with local business organizations including the Downtown Courtenay Business Improvement Association, the Comox Valley Farmers’ Market, the Black Creek Community Centre and the City of Courtenay. Members of the community cite Tracey’s creativity, positive attitude, and energy as core strengths. Indeed, we look forward to building the Chamber under Tracey’s leadership.
In addition to her duties as Executive Director, Tracey will continue to manage the Courtenay BIA on a part-time basis for an interim period until a replacement is in place.
Please join us in welcoming Tracey to the Chamber of Commerce. You can meet Tracey in person at our Annual General Meeting scheduled for 5:00 pm Tuesday April 25, 2023, at 40 Knots Winery.
I will complete my 18-year term as CEO of the Comox Valley Chamber of Commerce August 31st. I have been honoured and privileged to represent our membership and the business community. Thank you.
As this chapter closes, I wish to thank the 18 boards of directors I have worked with, the members I have represented and the community leaders and organizations. I am grateful for the opportunity to work with many accomplished individuals in the Comox Valley. Leading the Chamber of Commerce has been a privilege.
What I have enjoyed most about Chamber life,is the Chamber networks (Island, Provincial and Federal), the mentors, friendships, connections and partnerships made over the years and the strategic alignments and collaborations which were created for the benefit of the Comox Valley business community.
There have been so many highlights in my career at the Chamber: - Winning 2010 Chamber of the Year in BC due to the Chamber’s bagless initiative and “Grab your Bag” campaign! - Being nominated twice for Canadian Chamber Executive of the Year award; in 2019 by the Chamber board and staff, and in 2010 by Chamber peers. - 2010 Comox Valley Olympic Spriit Committee – working to promote and support the 2010 Olympics in the Comox Valley and the grand finale! Attending the 2010 Olympic closing ceremonies with an Olympic team.
Chamber events, roundtable advocacy discussions, business walks and collaborative projects have evolved from a demonstrated need in our community. From showcasing award winners, creating strategic partnerships, and advocating for local business, the Chamber has been responsive to the current needs of our businesses and community.
The most important aspect to me over the past18 years of my career at the Chamber has been to choose collaboration. To first seek to understand, listen, evaluate, andto form connections. The Chamber is a pillar in this community, we lead by example. A Chamber’s role is to provide economic development, business resources and advocate for better business. During the pandemic, this became more apparent than ever. The pandemic impacted all of us in many ways. Individually and collectively. While this was a challenging time, it was also exhilarating in the sense that we were compelled to literally throw ourselves into what we knew best, to advocate for our members, to dig deep to understand their needs and to respond quickly. We did just that! Changes were happening at a rapid pace, and it was proving hard for businesses to keep up. We led the charge in pivoting and providing support within a week of the pandemic and we haven’t stopped. I am proud of the Chamber team, grateful to the “experts” who stayed with us, on the calls, by email, providing advice and resources.It wasmore apparent than ever that we were all in it together. That’s the benefit of membership. We’re ALL in, for you, our member.
In closing, I wish each member prosperity and abundance in the years to come.
The Chamber team is still here to serve you.
All the best to our members and the Chamber in this next chapter. See you all “around the valley” Sincerely, Dianne Hawkins, CEO
The 2022 Chamber Golf Classic was a great hit! The weather was fabulous, team spirits were up and golfers played a full round on the Crown Isle greens. Thanks to our sponsors... Presenting Sponsor – Thrifty Foods Media Sponsors – CV Record and 98.9 the Jet FM
Hole Sponsors – Budget Blinds Cloutier Matthews Courtenay Nissan CSN Reliable Flying Canoe Jim Zsiros Contracting Jackson & Associates & Silent Auction RBC RLR Lawyers Wedler WM of Canada Old Farm Market Raven 100.7 Invis West Coast Mortgages – Putting Contest Ladies Longest Drive – Janine Hutchings Men’s Longest Drive – Brendan McCann Winning Team – Coastal Community Credit Union Score of 13 – under par Doug Forbes-King, Janine Hutchings, Rick Waldhaus and Bill Kelly Congratulations to all the players and those who won prizes at the holes. See you next year!
Spas are well-known for pampering their clients - and charging a premium for their services. Despite the high prices that come with massages, scrubs, and treatments, the world's leading spas have been able to turn a tidy profit by focusing on delivering exceptional customer service. Here's what your business can learn from these high-end service-orientated enterprises:
Focus On Personalized Service
The hallmark of any great spa is their attention to personal detail - they make a point of knowing each customer by name, and learning as much as they can about their clients' personal likes, dislikes, and preferences. Simple things like remembering how they like their coffee, the names of their kids and pets, and even what times they like to book appointments go a long way towards creating loyal customers.
Pay Attention To Details
Another technique that leading spas use is continual customer engagement - making their clients feel special, even when they're not getting a pedicure, manicure, or hot stone massage. Spas do this by sending out personalized, hand-written birthday cards and holiday notes with messages targeted to each one of their clients. This reminds their clients of that pampered feeling their customers get at their spa, helping to keep a personal connection alive.
Create A Loyalty Program
The owners at Willow Spa in Santa Monica, California knew that they needed to up their game when it came to pampering their clients - after all, the spa business is highly competitive on the West Coast.
In order to encourage their clients to return to their spa, the owners created a points-based loyalty program that provided incentives to encourage both repeat visits and the use of some of the spas' less popular treatments.
Ask any successful spa owner what the single most effective thing is that they do to retain customers and chances are good they'll mention thank you notes - simple, old-fashioned, hand-written notes or cards that make clients feel appreciated. In fact, the idea of sending a hand-written note as part of an overall relationship management strategy isn't unique to spas - many big-name companies like Land's End have also embraced the idea of mailing out personalized cards as a way to thank their clients and create a positive, lasting impression.
Fortunately, even if you have a desk job, you may not be desk-bound. Standing desks are becoming an increasingly popular choice among office workers, offering a host of benefits.
Reduces Lower Back Pain
Sitting for hours puts a lot of stress on the body. If you suffer from back and leg pain, then you've likely noticed that the longer you sit, the more uncomfortable you feel. According to a study conducted by the CDC in 2011, standing can reduce back pain by 54 percent. Standing also promotes better circulation, helping to prevent leg pain.
Prevents Neck Strain and Decreases Headaches
If you're sitting in front of a computer monitor all day, then you probably find yourself straining your neck towards your monitor. This causes your spine to curve into a "C" shape, which has both short-term and long-term problems like disc damage, shoulder pain, pain in your neck, and headaches. When you stand, you restore a healthy "S" shape to your spine, reducing pain through your back, neck, and head.
Standing burns more calories and requires that the body put forth more energy, but that doesn't mean that your energy levels will take a hit. In fact, because standing promotes better circulation and allows your body to take in more oxygen, you feel better for longer. Simply standing while you work can give you the energy boost equal to a cup of coffee, without the crash that comes later.
Many employers have recognized that implementing a wellness program that support workers' physical and mental health not only creates a better work environment, but it can help reduce out-of-control healthcare costs, employee absenteeism, and diminished productivity. Transitioning to standing desks can drastically cut down on the number of hours that employees spend sitting, helping to prevent serious health problems. These are just a few of the many benefits that standing desks provide for office workers. While there are special considerations that need to be made (for example, hours of standing in place can result in foot and joint problems) making this transition and reducing the number of hours that you or your employees spend sitting is a simple way to boost morale and promote a healthy lifestyle.
For many local small businesses, the past year and a half have been one of the unprecedented challenges. With many provinces lifting Covid restrictions, and the vaccine administered at a fast pace, re-opening is the next thing on the horizon. Business planning can be challenging enough in the best of times, and this year is far from the best. Therefore, creating a post-covid business plan, one that's realistic and achievable, can help you define your business goals over the next year, and give you measurable metrics to analyze the success of your business.
Three Important Questions For Post-Covid Business Plans
Creating goals starts with defining them. Three key questions can help you create the best business plan, not just post-Covid, but in the future, as well.
How does your business really make money?
Businesses aren't just vendors of goods or providers of services. Successful businesses identify a need their customers have and position themselves as the answer to meeting it. So, what need do you meet? Understanding this will help you know how you make your money, and can help you with marketing initiatives, too, as you'll be able to present your business in a way that appeals to your target customers.
Who do you depend on to drive the business?
Appealing to your target customers can be difficult if you haven't defined who your target customer is. Focus on what type of person will patronize your business, including age, gender, and income, and education levels. Then, you can get a better picture of what this type of person needs, and how you provide it.
What will people's behaviors look like after the pandemic?
Understanding how you changed your operating model during the pandemic can give you insight into how your customers will buy from you afterward. Did you start a home delivery service, or offer virtual consulting fr a service business? Many of your customers may appreciate the convenience of these services, and they could be a vital part of your business moving forward.
Predicting Behavioral Changes For Your Customers
Predicting whether your customers will continue their pandemic methods of consuming goods and services can be tricky. You may wish to send out a survey to your customer base, asking them if they preferred your pre-pandemic business model or the altered, more virtual one. Responding to their needs and presenting your business in the way that your customers wish to shop gives you a goal for your business. Your target customer's needs may have changed, too. Perhaps they're working from home and they like the convenience of home-delivered goods and virtual services. Or, they may be tired of being at home, in welcome the chance to shop in person again.
The Chamber can be a strong resource for your business. It's an organization with a mission to help local businesses in the community grow and thrive. From helping you find the right employees to hosting business showcases, the Chamber is on your side, as a business owner. If you haven't stopped by your local office, take the time to introduce yourself and tell your representatives a little about your business, your goals, and ask what kind of programs you can participate in to help raise your visibility in the community.