Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce PresentationPresentation Transcript
VISION FOR BUSINESS IN NIAGARA
Niagara’s economy is facing many challenges.
Businesses in Niagara are finding it increasingly difficult in the current economic climate.
Niagara’s unemployment rates is the second highest in Ontario.
There is a labour skills gap that is growing quickly in Niagara.
Niagara’s young professionals and skilled trades are leaving the region.
Poverty in Niagara is well above the provincial average.
Niagara lacks an advocacy infrastructure that represents businesses at the regional level.
Businesses in Niagara are looking for leadership to address the real issues that are facing businesses and communities in Niagara.
After extensive discussion and research the decision was made by a group of business people to create the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce. The goal is that this organization can bring together business leaders who are ready to help position Niagara’s economy for the 21st Century.
Over the past year, members of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce (GNCC) steering committee have established a set of by-laws, core values, mission, vision and goals as a means to set in motion the creation of a powerful new business organization in Niagara.
A rock solid framework has been created by the steering committee and now the participants and Board of Directors will begin solidifying the structure of the GNCC around that framework.
Move forward with a clear sense of direction and a strong vision of the future.
Set an agenda of regional priorities and actions.
Provide a forum for business to discover common interests, and inspire and establish mutually supportive policies and programs.
Promote innovation and creativity. Recognize that the old ways may still have value, we strive to find a better solution
Face the future with confidence.
Expect the best in people.
Act with respect, honesty, decency and commitment.
Directly face obstacles, difficulties and uncertainties.
The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce is a non-partisan, non-sectarian association of businesses, groups and individuals who support business growth and effective government fostering a sustainable and vibrant Niagara.
The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce will be the champion for the Niagara business community.
To foster a successful business climate in Niagara
To influence government and public institutions on behalf of business in a positive, visible, and proactive manner
To strengthen business networks in Niagara
The Steering Committee has reviewed regionally based models across North America, and a common development has been the establishment of strategically located and sectorally-based business councils as part of regional chambers of commerce.
Based on the research and Niagara’s unique geographical nature the Committee recommended that Business Councils be a fundamental part of the GNCC infrastructure.
Local/sectoral networking and events (BA5, community awards, golf tournaments, etc.)
Local/sectoral membership support
Providing local services and points of contact
Development of municipal/sectoral policy issues
Develop budget and business plan for local Business Council
Provide input regarding staff direction assigned to Business Councils
BC will be formed in areas in which a chamber’s membership has voted to join the GNCC.
BCs will be located strategically and based on geographical area, sector, and membership size as determined by the GNCC Board of Directors in consultation with the membership.
BC will be formed by those businesses within its geographical or sectoral area with volunteers from the chamber membership.
Areas, which are not specifically represented by a BC, can have committees struck by the GNCC to assist with local issues/events affecting a municipality, area and/or its members
BCs can form sub-committees to address issues related to the area/sector serviced by the Council.
BCs can be formed to represent sector-based industries in Niagara.
Elected Board of Directors by the membership at large
Development of Regional Advocacy Plan
Development of Strategic Plan
Development of Annual Budget/Business Plan
Approve Business Council Budgets and Plans
Focus on organizational governance
Provide professional development for business
Large scale/regional networking/events
Providing increased regional benefits/services to membership
Manage support for the local Business Councils
Represent Niagara business interests at conferences, events at a provincial, national and international level.
The inaugural Board of Directors of the GNCC will be appointed. Future Boards will be elected by the membership at large
The composition of this board will fluctuate. Each of the existing Niagara Business Organizations that decides to participate and become a Business Council of the GNCC will be entitled to assign members to this inaugural board in the amount of 1 per every 400 members they have in their organization.
To date, this is the composition of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors.
Based on the proposed model, a “bridge-building” model, the GNCC is committed to working with local chambers and other existing business organizations to negotiate joint agreements that will create the GNCC: a regional chamber organization with recognized local points of contact.
Protection of local chamber charter by GNCC
Establishment of a restricted fund
Development of an employment strategy
Development of Business Councils
Local points of contact
Members of the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce steering committee are meeting with any and all existing business organizations within the Niagara Region ie) Chambers of Commerce, business clubs, etc. to fully engage and demonstrate the flexibility of the framework created to enable their de-risked participation in the Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce.
Once these organizations have had a chance to learn and present options to their own memberships, the inaugural membership of the GNCC will be formed.
Once the inaugural membership of the GNCC and full board of directors has been named, the GNCC will begin formal operations and general memberships will be made available to those businesses that are a part of organizations that declined to participate at the outset.
The Greater Niagara Chamber of Commerce steering committee is working towards processing the matter with all existing organizations by years end 2011 with a targeted full services launch by the end of the first quarter, 2012.
Our goal is not to create a mega-chamber. Our goal is to create a unified and regionally cohesive voice of business in Niagara. That naturally leads to bridge-building conversations and the simplicity that would come from having existing organizations merge into the new unified and cohesive GNCC.
We are facing some small challenges. With such an incredible amount of work invested from such a diverse and knowledgeable group of people the framework created to conceive the GNCC is virtually bulletproof and essentially derisks the proposition for all of the regions Chambers of Commerce and other business organizations.
Based on that framework and the built-in flexibility, there are only two reasons why an organization would choose not to participate:
The Vision is wrong
There are self interests in the decision making process
The business community is confirming in an overwhelming manner that the vision is solid. With that support we will continue unbowed in the creation of the GNCC and furthering the Niagara community by communicating openly, honestly, transparently and effectively.
These transparent conversations with the business community will make this a wildly successful endeavor and we cherish the coming progress!
Join the conversation and encourage others to do the same, this is an exciting time!
Engage with us on Twitter: @NiagaraCoC
Engage with us on Facebook: facebook.com/NiagaraChamber
Engage with us on our blog: http://NiagaraChamber.Worpress.Com
Do you share the vision? Make sure you communicate that with the Board of Directors of any existing business organization you are a member of. They are making GNCC related decisions on behalf of their memberships and their members need to communicate their wishes to them.