Leadership key to business development
The Amherst and Area Chamber of Commerce honoured four organizations for their community connections during its Small Business Week banquet at NSCC Amherst on Wednesday
© Darrell Cole - Cumberlandnewsnow.com
Amherst and Area Chamber of Commerce president Gladys Coish (centre) speaks to Jamie O’Neil of Bluteau DeVenney (left) and Tanya Bellefontaine from All Ships Rise following the chamber’s Small Business Week banquet on Wednesday.
AMHERST – The Amherst and Area Chamber of Commerce honoured five organizations for their community connections during its Small Business Week banquet at NSCC Amherst on Wednesday.
The Nova Scotia Fibre Arts Festival, the Downtown Amherst Business Advisory Committee, the Cross Border Challenge and the Downtown Amherst Business Advisory Committee’s festivals and events sub-committee and the Maritime Rockabilly Shakedown Festival were presented with Presidents’ Awards for their efforts to support economic development in the Amherst area over the past year.
“It’s amazing to be the captain of the ship when you have an amazing crew,” festivals and events chairwoman Michele LeBlanc said. “Amherst is alive again and we’re returning to be busy again.”
Judi Giroux of the Cross Border Challenge said it’s amazing how far the running event has come in a short time. From one race at the beginning, it has grown to nine this year spanning several months.
The chamber also presented several awards to participants in its first ever Chamber Pit event that asked people to pitch their business ideas to a panel. Dave March pitched the idea of a seafood restaurant, a business hub for home-based entrepreneurs to take their clients, a rent-a-workshop and a business development weekend in which someone can come with an idea on Friday and have a business plan by Monday.
Bev Estabrooks pitched making Amherst a ghost capital, building on the Great Amherst Mystery, while Kim Ripley suggested a tea room with naturopathic services.
The dinner and Chamber Pit were all part of Small Business Week festivities that kicked off on Monday and included presentations on what the CBDC offers to small business, how NSBI can help businesses expand and locate in Amherst, a small business expo and chamber membership services information session.
Wednesday’s dinner also included a presentation by Tanya Bellefontaine of All Ships Rise and Jamie O’Neil of Beluteau DeVenney.
Bellefontaine said All Ships Rise, an initiative of the Halifax Chamber of Commerce, is designed to help Nova Scotia businesses, business people and entrepreneurs take advantage of the province’s megaprojects and ensure these opportunities are just the spark that ignites a new era of sustainability.
“All Ships Rise is not just about Ships Start Here, but it’s about preparing for all major projects and making sure business gets the slice they deserve of that economic pie,” Bellefontaine said.
Bellefontaine said the initiative is about identifying, creating and communicating the province’s opportunities, providing customized assistance to members through a variety of programs and helping businesses gain access to economic opportunities.
Through its Business Help Centre and Centre for Competitiveness, she said, All Ships Rise will help business overcome barriers to growth.
O’Neil, whose company is a founding sponsor of All Ships Rise, said the key to economic growth is leadership and suggested business needs to do more to foster its workers leadership qualitis.
“Leadership matters, it’s not just a buzzword,” O’Neil said. “It’s a real skillset we can learn.”
She said the size of the average size of business in Nova Scotia is 1.6 people. To grow it to six people, and to grow the province’s average GDP per employee business need to focus on more training and more leadership development for its workers.
Bluteau DeVenney is providing leadership training in concert with chambers in Halifax, Bridgewater and a couple of other places. O’Neil would like to see this leadership training go provincewide.