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“It’s all about the power of the network.”

Duncan Wilson, the newly elected president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, said addressing delegates in attendance at the 2016 Canadian Chamber of Commerce Annual General Meeting and conference held from September 17 to 20 in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Wilson, vice-president, Corporate Social Responsibility at the Port of Vancouver, reinforced the important role that Chambers play representing businesses from coast to coast.

He added that with a broad network of 450 chambers and more than 200,000 businesses across Canada, the Canadian Chamber is uniquely positioned to collaborate with government on issues impacting business.

No other organization can offer that value for membership. Every member of the Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce is a member of the national chamber, as well as the Atlantic Provinces Chamber of Commerce.

Our local chamber participated in the national conference which included reviewing, debating and voting on more than 65 policies that will set the direction of the national organization for the coming year on topics such as Transportation and Infrastructure, Industry, International Affairs, Social Policy, Human Resources, Finance and Taxation, Special Issues and Natural Resources and Environment.

Along with the policy debates, conference participants connect one-on-one with Chamber partners during an expo, learning about programs to benefit members, resources available to support local initiatives and connecting with stakeholders from across the country.

Our chamber recently hosted a roundtable session with CN, enabling a group of local businesses using their service to provide detailed feedback to Nancy McKay, Atlantic Region Community Affairs Lead, Corporate Services, with CN. While attending the national conference I had the opportunity to speak with Fiona Murray, a director with the Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Vice President, Industrial Products CN, based in Montreal, reinforcing the importance of their service to our local business community while sharing some of the key topics discussed during our roundtable.

We are proud to represent the business community at this national conference and look forward to continuing to meet one-on-one with members to better understand their issues and challenges to lobby on their behalf.

The Chamber is also proud to carry on its tradition of offering financial support to local graduating students furthering their education at a post-secondary institution by offering three $1,000 scholarships.

We congratulate successful 2016 applicants and wish them well in their studies. They are: Caelan Ferguson, North Colchester High School graduate attending St. Francis Xavier University; Miranda N. Huybers, South Colchester Academy graduate attending University of New Brunswick; and Kennedey Height, Cobequid Educational Centre graduate attending Nova Scotia Community College.

This month, the Chamber is hosting a week of activities to celebrate BDC Small Business Week from October 17 to 21.

The Small Business Awards Luncheon will be held at the Holiday Inn, 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 (plus tax).

This year’s guest speaker at the awards luncheon is Rodney Small, Business Development manager with Halifax-based 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. He is a highly motivated leader with a passion for entrepreneurship, community and people development.

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 and Small Business Growth Award, sponsored by BDC.

A Women’s Business Breakfast will be held on October 17, 8:30 a.m., Truro fire hall, free of charge, sponsored by BDC and Grant Thornton; an entrepreneur expo will be held on October 18, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Marigold Cultural Centre featuring business support exhibitors and an entrepreneur panel of speakers sharing their views on business; a Business After Five and speed networking social event will be held on October 20, 5 to 8 p.m. at Warmth By Design’s new location, 16 Hub Centre Drive; a job fair will be held at the RECC on October 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; and a lunch and learn with special guest Dr. Ryan Sommers speaking about the economics of health will be held on October 21, sponsored by MacQuarries Pharmasave and Grant Thornton. For more information about any of our events, Chamber benefits programs or membership call 902-895-6328, email ec@tcchamber.ca or visit www.trurocolchesterchamber.com

Sherry Martell is the executive director of the Truro & Colchester Chamber of Commerce.T