• SO Chamber Year End Review 2022

    It has been a challenging few years, and we are happy to see most of our local businesses and organizations have survived and many have thrived.  We ourselves have rebuilt our small but mighty regional chamber, and we are proud of all the work that we have done to support our businesses and what we have accomplished for our chamber over the last few years. 
     
    We were able to bring in significant investment dollars to our region and hire several contractors, small businesses, and community recovery advisors over the last couple of years thanks to funding from both the Federal and Provincial Governments and from the Economic Trust of the Southern Interior (ETSI-BC).  This extra financial investment has shown us that while events and fun promotional opportunities are important – we can never lose sight of quality of life and business climate issues that also need time, investment and attention.  We strongly feel that Business, Community, and Economic Development in small rural regions like ours require and deserve this type of regular, ongoing effort and funding for the greater success of our communities and for the betterment of our residents, businesses and our visitors. 
     
    Recent accomplishments that were achieved due to increased member investments, fee for service opportunities, and successful grant applications: 
     
    *We were successful in our application to ETSI-BC to provide Business and Community Recovery Advisory Services in our region that supported local businesses and non profits. This brought in over $100,000 dollars to our local economy. 
     
    *We were part of a Federally funded Support Local Initiative through our BC Chamber that brought several thousands of dollars into our region that was shared among our local radio and newspaper, small businesses, non profits and schools.
     
    *Our Okanagan We Got This group – which is a collaboration of chambers from Vernon all the way to Osoyoos – created an Explore Next Door Campaign which was shared extensively throughout the Okanagan.  We used a local film company that highlighted several businesses and activities throughout our region including spotlights on Smitty’s, Double O Bikes, Okanagan Art Gallery, Osoyoos Fruit Basket, Oliver Movie Theatre, Tickleberries, and Meyer Family Vineyard.  Again bringing several thousands of dollars into our region just with the creation of the video alone.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZnlRR62WXBU
     
    *South Okanagan Stories – we have over 30 professionally written stories about the businesses and the faces behind the businesses.  The stories and concept has been so well received that we are building a new website to feature all these stories and will function as a regional relocation guide which we have not had for several years now.  We will have dedicated pages for each of our main communities that we represent to highlight what is special about our area and why families and businesses should consider relocating here. 
    https://www.sochamber.ca/blog/south-okanagan-chamber-beat-327
     
    *Formal Business Walks have started again after having been put on hold for a couple of years.  We are now a member of the BC Economic Development Association and have the Executive Pulse Software which is going to allow us to improve the support we can provide in the region, and we will be able to have solid reporting for our Chamber and our Stakeholders.
     
    *We are currently working on a video series which will feature different industry clusters in the South Okanagan starting with agriculture and small scale farms.   We look forward to highlighting other clusters in the region as funds allow, such as Manufacturing, Service Based Businesses, and Health and Wellness focused businesses.  
     
    *Working with the Town of Oliver on the Grow Oliver initiatives that support a vibrant downtown, strong economy, and healthy community.  Collaborating allows us to leverage our dollars and maximize our efforts and results. 
     
    These are just a few highlights of the last 18 months, and we hope that it shows that we are dedicated, passionate and ready to work collaboratively for the success of our businesses and local economy.
     
    Thank you to all the Chamber members and supporters that have invested, donated and cheered us on.  Thank you for your time, engagement, and attention. #itmatters
     
    We are only as strong as our membership and greater support from the business community and stakeholders.  If you aren’t a member, please reach out to us and find out the value of working together and how we can support each other and our business colleagues.  Be sure to get connected with us by signing for our newsletter and of course follow us on social - FB, IG, LinkedIn and Youtube. 
     
    Sincerely – SO Chamber Board of Directors, Staff, and Ambassadors

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