Innovative, creative and punching above our weight.
That is how Williams Lake and District Chamber of Commerce past president Vanessa Riplinger describes how the local business community has adapted during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“So much of the business conversation during the pandemic has been on the incredible challenges that have been faced by everybody, especially the hospitality industry and the restaurants,” she said, noting there has been some positive changes.
“There are noteworthy things that have come out of this – the broader shift in our economic base around innovation and acceleration in computers and different ways of doing things in our region.”
Provincially, the BC Chamber of Commerce has continued to track the impact of the pandemic on business and the economy throughout the year, notes Fiona Famulak, President and CEO of the BC Chamber of Commerce (BCCC).
“I’ve witnessed first-hand the perseverance and collaboration amongst businesses that has gotten us this far. We now have the opportunity to harness that collaboration and carry it into our collective recovery.” Famulak said in a news release, speaking to the BCCC’s updated Big Thinking for Small Business plan to grow British Columbia’s economy by focusing on three pillars: inclusivity, innovation, and competitiveness.
Updated from the previous year’s Economic Recovery Submission, the Big Thinking for Small Business plan supports BCCC’s priorities to guide the province through continued recovery efforts. Emphasis is placed on the critical need for action to address the skilled labour shortage and housing affordability to support the removal of economic barriers to help pave the way for small- and medium-sized businesses to thrive.
BCCC noted the Big Thinking for Small Business plan outlines concise policies which will help inform the advocacy efforts of the BC Chamber of Commerce for the year ahead. The plan supports a recent presentation made by Famulak to the Select Standing Committee on Finance and Government Services and will be submitted to government as the provincial association’s comprehensive policy and advocacy process gets underway.
Locally, the Williams Lake and Distinct Chamber will hold its annual general meeting (AGM) on Thursday, Oct. 28 which will be held at the Fox’s Den Restaurant with a maximum of 50 people due to COVID-19 protocols.
The WLDCC offers health, medical and extended group benefits for small business that are affordable, Riplinger noted. Locally the chamber also brings issues to the B.C. Chamber of Commerce which sometimes become policy.
Riplinger said the region continues to be the best place to ‘live, work and play,’ noting the chamber is noticing more people are moving into the community, with some of those newcomers working from home because of the new supports in recent years to do so.