We want to send a GIANT Thank You to our Small Businesses of Chatham Kent!
October was Small Business Month and the Chatham-Kent Chamber was able to help celebrate all that you accomplished and gave back to our community this year. Always an exciting time for our Chamber, we are honoured with the opportunity to celebrate and appreciate everything Small Businesses contributes locally. Recently, the Chatham Kent Chamber joined together with other community partners, the CK Workforce Planning Board, Scotiabank, CK Employment and Social Services and the Small Business Centre, to showcase and highlight its ongoing support by showcasing new businesses of Chatham-Kent. We were delighted to enjoy the company of Interim President & CEO, Richard Koroscil, of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. To hear directly from him about the value and contributions Small Businesses make to communities like ours reinforced why the Chamber initiates, partners and advocates for small business. Richard spoke during our monthly Business after Hours event, highlighted the tremendous contributions, achievements and opportunities of Small Business; yet acknowledged the challenges currently being faced. Owning a small business is not for the faint of heart. It requires passion and dedication. There is little time off or away and - as with any small business – you, the owner, are ‘the brand’. Thanks go out to our gracious host, The Dutch Market. Owner, Charlie Huls, and his team provided a wonderful experience. If you haven’t visited the market yet, it may just be time to do so. Thankfully, Chatham-Kent is home to many of the finest Small Businesses in Southwestern Ontario. We are fortunate.
October brought us a great many things, including cooler weather and shorter days. While over the last number of months plenty of other changes have been rearing, that are creating challenges to small business survival. Increasingly, more pressure is being downloaded to you and is burdening and tightening your bottom line. Tenuous topics such as – but not limited to - the rapid increase of minimum wage, burdensome increases to energy costs and the more recently proposed tax proposals to private corporations threaten the very existence of small business and their ability to remain competitive on a larger scale. With small business representing the single largest employment sector these proposals will hurt and diminish any momentum gains experienced over the past 2 years. But we are ready and continue to fight! These proposals are some of the largest and most impactful changes to hit businesses in such rapid succession. I believe these are important topics and only through meaningful and constructive dialog with Government will we cut through the clutter and protect local economies.
The Chatham-Kent Chamber continues to be your champion voice and advocate, with the support of the Ontario Chamber of Commerce, their talented team and local Chambers like ours. Local business owner, entrepreneur and fellow Chamber Board Director, Jim Waters of BDM Millwrights, had the opportunity to voice and represent Chatham-Kent small business to discuss these challenges at a recent Roundtable with the Hon. Minister Leal, Minister for Small Business, hosted by the Ontario Chamber of Commerce. Jim and approximately 20 fellow small business owners from across Ontario had opportunity for intimate conversation with the Minister discussing of the issues, challenges and opportunities facing the province’s small businesses and adding of their importance and contributions to their local communities. The feedback was tremendous and the support overwhelming. It’s clear that our Government Affairs Committee, along with members like Jim, is capable of influencing and shaping the agenda. Their experience and insight will help create strategies that achieve real outcomes, it will create an environment where we will see small businesses in Chatham-Kent continue to succeed.
Talking successes, plans are well underway to share stories, give our acknowledgement and our sincerest thanks and appreciation to all of the important businesses and individuals that help sustain our local community at our upcoming Rural Urban Dinner and Awards on November 22nd. Recipients were recently announced and tickets are on sale. Consider being part of a night of recognition, mingling and sharing with positive people, always a great night.
We anticipate a great Sharing of the Season when showcasing Young Professionals and Entrepreneurs in December. Our Business After Hours host, Sons of Kent, lead with example and will, certainly, bring in the season in a crafty kind of way. Mark your calendar to attend and check out how you, or someone you know, may qualify for being showcased.
As an extension of business success and excellence, plans are also underway to organizing another celebratory event with the Business Excellence Awards. Nominations are now open and you are being called on to nominate businesses you believe have stood out within our community. Nominations close the end of November, and it only takes a moment of your time to complete the nomination. I’m certain you know of a business, or businesses, that deserve your submission. Remember, they can’t be recognized if not nominated.
With so much to celebrate locally, it’s easy to see why there is much optimism about where Chatham- Kent is heading. Please stay tuned for more.