Dozens of Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce representatives will canvas the greater Chattanooga area Feb. 21 in a one-day outreach campaign to ignite new connections in the local business community and spur discussion about resources the Chattanooga Chamber offers to help area companies grow.
The event will kick off with an 8 a.m. breakfast meeting at The Car Barn, where Chattanooga Chamber volunteers will convene to assemble teams and compare routes. Activities will conclude with a networking gathering from 5–7 p.m. at MOCHA Restaurant & Lounge, where event organizers will award prizes to participants based on the day’s results.
The focus of the campaign is to emphasize the bottom line value of relationships within the business community – both to the local economy and to the businesses themselves.
“As our members continue to demonstrate, companies that maintain high levels of engagement in a local network of peers enjoy access to more customers and increased visibility, as well as opportunities to cut costs through partnerships with other businesses interested in cross-marketing and trading products and services,” said Sandra Brewer, vice president of Member-Investor Services for the Chattanooga Chamber. “These relationships help keep our economy healthy and our business environment thriving – factors which directly influence the Chamber’s efforts to encourage investment and job creation in our area.”
As the region’s leading business association and economic development organization, the Chattanooga Chamber is incorporated as two separate but related entities that operate under a unifying mission to implement a comprehensive job creation strategy that promotes regional economic growth. The organization serves this purpose by providing its 1,600 member companies – which employ more than 79,000 people – with a range of services and resources, while also engaging in economic development activities and delivering related services to all eligible businesses in the area.
"It’s the Chamber’s imperative to maximize growth opportunities for local companies, and our network is truly where those advantages thrive,” Ms. Brewer explained. “One of our biggest challenges as a business association is dispelling the myth that Chamber memberships primarily serve larger companies with higher profit margins. That’s not the case at all. The majority of our members are small businesses, and we’ve taken great care to design a tiered dues structure that favors the smallest of those companies. Access is an absolute priority for us, and as scores of our small businesses attest, the benefits far outstrip their investment.”
Carlos Garcia, who owns local commercial cleaning company The Green Squad, joined the Chattanooga Chamber in 2011 to connect with new potential customers.
“Participating in this network has put me in contact with opportunities I wouldn’t have accessed otherwise,” he said. “In the first year I became part of the Chamber network, I increased business at my company by 40 percent.”
At one Chattanooga Chamber meeting in particular, said Mr. Garcia, another member approached him with news about a large local company seeking bids for the types of services his business provides.
"Immediately I pursued the lead, and I ended up getting the contract,” he explained. “Soon thereafter, I was able to increase my payroll and add 11 new employees.”
In addition to contacts, Mr. Garcia said the knowledge the Chattanooga Chamber provides to local businesses is another important advantage of participating in the network. According to Brewer, the organization adjusts its programming on an ongoing basis to ensure educational opportunities reflect current needs in the business community.
“Between the Chamber’s 12 monthly council meetings, ongoing seminar series and small business workshops at The INCubator, we offer businesses a number of resources to educate themselves about topics related to their growth,” said Ms. Brewer. “We regularly recruit local industry experts to share their expertise with our members on topics ranging from workforce development to best business practices. The goal is to keep our membership informed about local developments that will affect their companies and to offer them opportunities to improve their work, access new markets and enhance their bottom lines.”
But for those business owners that don’t have time to step away from the office to take advantage of the Chattanooga Chamber’s educational- and networking-related opportunities, other benefits are available, Ms. Brewer said.
“By leveraging the group buying power of the Chamber network, we’re now able to offer our members a suite of discounts and resources that will reduce costs, heighten security and bring mobile solutions into their companies,” she explained. “These opportunities enhance our members’ ability to do business and improve their bottom lines without having to step away from the shop.”
Moving into the year ahead, Ms. Brewer said she hopes campaigns like the outreach blitz and other community engagement events will inspire new and stronger ties between businesses in the Chattanooga area.
“When local companies come together and support one another’s growth, the entire community benefits,” said Ms. Brewer. “The Chamber provides a platform for making that happen, and we’re looking forward to reaching more area businesses with resources to help that process along.”
To learn more about the Chattanooga Chamber outreach blitz, contact Sandra Brewer at 763-4346 or email@example.com.