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The Truro and Colchester Chamber of Commerce joined dozens of other Chamber’s across Atlantic Canada last June by participating in the inaugural 2016 Atlantic Canada Business Confidence Index benchmark study undertaken by Corporate Research Associates Inc. (CRA) and funded by TD Canada Trust.

This is a comprehensive survey of business of business owners and executives across industries, providing insight into current economic business conditions, anticipated business conditions for the coming year, capital purchase intentions and hiring intentions. The semi-annual initiative provides important economic indicators for industry, the business community and the region’s policy makers.

According to the report, Canada has been in an unprecedented period of slower than normal economic growth since the great recession. Atlantic Canada has experienced exceptionally low growth during the last eight years, which is a consequence of a population that is aging and not growing.

However, the benchmark study results reveal optimism among business leaders about the future of their own organizations. Businesses located in PEI showed the highest level of confidence and optimism followed by Nova Scotia. The inaugural results also revealed a collective belief that more could be done among the business community to foster a positive business environment to address three top issues identified – government and politics, high taxes and a lack of qualified employees.

The full report can be viewed on the Chamber’s website, www.trurocolchesterchamber.com.

Our membership will be asked to participate in the CRA study again in December and June of 2017 to provide an overview of economic conditions relevant to this market.

September is a busy month at the Chamber as we prepare to launch our fall lineup of events.

Jeff Bishop of Forest Nova Scotia will present an economic impact study about the forestry industry to members on September 22 at the RECC, at noon, an event coinciding with Forestry Week.

He will be joined by Bob Fraser, presenting an economic impact study completed for Northern Pulp demonstrating a strong link to business in Colchester County. This event is sponsored by Grant Thornton.

The cost is $20 for members, $25 for non-members.

The Chamber will be launching a new program on September 28, The TD Business Builder series. This series of 10 early morning workshops will provide Chamber members an opportunity to connect with an expert on a variety of topics providing information and tools to build their business. This program is sponsored by TD Canada Trust and is offered free of charge to Chamber members. Participants can choose to participate in one or more sessions or register for all 10.

The TD Business Builder series will be held from 8 to 9 a.m., at the Marigold Cultural Centre Workshop, 605 Prince St., Truro.

Carolyn Pierce, an experienced public relations and communications manager, will present the first session on September 28 themed Marketing on a Shoestring Budget.

Visit the Chamber website for registration information and a list of other TD Business Builder speakers scheduled through the fall and winter.

The Chamber will honour six local enterprises during Small Business Week in October. The nomination period for the awards will open on September 14 until October 4.

Awards will be presented in the following categories: New Small Business of the Year, sponsored by Community Credit Union; Small Business Achievement, sponsored by PWC; Export Achievement, sponsored by Nova Scotia Business Inc.; Small Business Innovation, sponsored by RBC; Excellence in Community Development sponsored by the Town of Truro; and new this year, Agriculture Business of the year, sponsored by WBLI Chartered Accountants.

To highlight the importance of small business, the chamber is hosting several events in Truro and the surrounding area in October, bringing the business community together to share achievements, network and showcase information and supports for local entrepreneurs. Visit the Chamber’s website or facebook page for a full lineup of the week’s events.

The award luncheon will be held at the Holiday Inn on Wednesday, October 19, beginning at noon. Reserve your seat in advance by calling the chamber office, 902-895-6328; tickets cost $25 for chamber members and $35 for future members (tax inc.).

This year’s award luncheon’s guest speaker is Rodney Small of Common Good Solutions. A resident of Halifax, Small has been an active volunteer in his community and is a graduate of Dalhousie’s Bachelor of management program with a focus on innovation and entrepreneurship.

Sherry Martell is the Executive Director of the Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce.