For immediate release – March 3, 2017
Squamish, B.C. – The Squamish Chamber of Commerce receives BC Rural Dividend grant to help diversify and grow the local economy.
The Squamish Chamber of Commerce has been awarded over $40,000 from the BC Rural Dividend to create business retention and attraction programs, including an online economic hub, youth engagement programing and increased marketing and promotion of Squamish businesses.
“As the voice of business in Squamish, the Chamber recognized a need to create an online, interactive economic hub, providing access to valuable data, resources and tools for businesses to grow.” said Louise Walker, Executive Director, Squamish Chamber. “Celebrating and communicating the success of the Squamish business community will showcase our amazing diversity and promote Squamish’s attractiveness as one of the best places to do business in B.C.” explained Walker.
The BC Rural Dividend is designed to help communities diversify and strengthen their economies and contribute to their overall wellness and sustainability. Funding of $25 million per year is available for community capacity building, workforce development, community and economic development, and business-sector development.
During the second intake of the BC Rural Dividend, 289 applications were received from communities, not-for-profit associations and First Nations throughout the province. The high number of applications received reflects a 60% increase from the first intake, which ran to May 31, 2016.
“The $42,000 BC Rural Dividend grant will assist the Squamish Chamber of Commerce in enhancing existing programs and adding new resource tools. The interactive hub will provide the growing community of Squamish entrepreneurs and businesses with valuable data and resources that can help better inform decision making”. Jordan Sturdy, MLA West Vancouver – Sea to Sky.
The fund was developed to recognise both the contribution of rural communities to B.C’s economy and the unique challenges faced to diversify beyond natural resources.
“Squamish has seen a significant change in our traditional industries, with the closure of several large-scale forest product manufacturers and associated businesses. More recently, we have seen incredible growth in our population. It is essential that Squamish sees a corresponding growth in job creation and establishes a diverse and sustainable economic base.” said Christine Campbell, Chair Squamish Chamber. “We are incredibly grateful to receive financial support from the Province of British Columbia and we look forward to working with both our provincial and local government, and the Squamish business community to enhance our services in workforce and economic development.” added Campbell.
The grant announcement follows a successful Chamber Week in Squamish, which included tours of businesses – FraserWood Industries, BC Timberframe and Kristall Turm – highlighting innovative and sustainable industries in Squamish, along with a networking event courtesy of Angie Vazquez, Thornhill Real Estate, Squamish.
Chamber Week celebrates the commitment of the Chamber of Commerce in strengthening Squamish’s business community, and recognizes the countless volunteer hours of service to the community.
The Squamish Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in the Squamish community by actively supporting business, economic growth and diversification. The Chamber takes a leadership role in advocating for the interest of Squamish business and provides member services such as networking and educational events, policy positions and partnerships with other organizations.