Chamber Celebrates New Year, Entrepreneurial Spirit

Local Economic Resilience at the Forefront for 2021

Entrepreneurs generally take greater risks than other business people. But after last year’s lockdown shifted the business landscape for everyone, all small-to-medium-sized enterprises in the South Kootenay region faced change with an entrepreneurial spirit.

That willingness to fight and adapt brought the business community closer than ever before. This year, the Trail & District Chamber of Commerce (the Chamber) is motivated to carry on with the same determination.

“We have 900 businesses across the South Kootenay region. If we compare that to the approximate population of 20,000 people, that’s basically one business for every 22 people,” explains Erika Krest, Executive Director. “Our region is full of entrepreneurs and dedicated business people, and the Chamber is focused on celebrating and supporting them.”

The Chamber works hard to increase the visibility of the region’s different businesses through its #ThinkLocalFirst initiatives. Last year’s digital bingo cards, industry-focused social media posts, virtual silent auction, and cross-promotional holiday initiative encouraged residents to spend their money locally. Chamber members and residents can expect enhanced iterations of these campaigns in the coming months.

“It’s all about local economic resiliency,” adds Krest. “The more dollars we keep in our communities, the stronger our economy.”

Providing a platform for businesses to share their message and brand is one function of the Chamber, which also advocates for the business community at large on the provincial level. For example, in collaboration with the BC Chamber of Commerce network, the Chamber recently asked the province to consider regional COVID-19 numbers when instituting future orders.

“It’s not enough to just encourage the public to think local first; we need the BC government to support our local economies, too,” says Krest.

More than 125 chambers of commerce and boards of trade across the province work diligently at making resolutions to policies that impact their local economies. This year, Krest hopes to further engage the business community in key policy issues, such as transportation and infrastructure.

“We are stronger together; our words carry more weight when delivered collectively,” she says. “We want to involve more people, strengthen our voice, and really focus on the things that matter the most to our communities and business leaders.”

While 2020 was ultimately a year of economic struggle, the hardship certainly sparked creativity, action, and collaboration. Additional Chamber highlights from the year include:

While the Chamber continues to communicate digitally to comply with social distancing, the team is working hard to personalize its messaging and empower its members to get involved. Their free monthly Business After Business networking events have gone virtual, taking place via Zoom on the third Thursday of each month. Details on these events and others can be found at:

The Chamber enters 2021 embracing change and hard work, much like the region it serves. No matter what new challenges arise, the organization is ready and willing to continue supporting and advocating for members and the South Kootenay community as a whole.

Keep an eye out for more Chamber Stories, published monthly in the Trail Times as well as online. Please also follow us on social media: Facebook / LinkedIn / Twitter / Instagram and sign up for our newsletter.

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