Amherst Chamber honours community organizations

Darrell Cole
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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

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.

Twitter: @ADNdarrell

Organizations: Downtown Amherst Business Advisory Committee, Amherst Chamber, Area Chamber of Commerce Chamber Pit Halifax Chamber of Commerce Business Help Centre

Geographic location: AMHERST, Nova Scotia

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Recent comments

  • Jack on the Rocks
    October 25, 2013 - 08:04

    "Captain of the ship".....nothing like tooting your own horn Mrs.Leblanc...No mention of the Mars Festival that started it all...just a bunch of hot air from from the big wheels...

  • toastedmonkee
    October 24, 2013 - 20:34

    Not a single word of recognition to the MaRS festival and crew!? The biggest event in the town, and not a single mention. I've been here for years, and didn't recognize a single name in the article. Who are these people? What a joke of a Chamber of Commerce. Seems it took a crew from outside of town to get the ball rolling. I laugh with contempt at your attempt to tailgate. haha

  • Davey Lee Goode
    October 24, 2013 - 18:43

    It's time for this boy to speak. Well, I have to say that I find this article just a little bit disgusting. Greasy Groove inc. and my family started the ball rolling with the MaRS festival in Amherst, and we built a great team to present Amherst biggest and best festival (there I said it). We created something for the town to have as an identity and to be proud of. After that, the copiers followed, and apparently they get the credit for being the role models. As for the festivals committee - they have gone out of their way to exclude the MaRS festival and crew from their discussions and are fuelled by personal agendas. I actually started my "Why not Amherst" campaign 4 years ago and used the phrase often in my presentations to Council and the Chamber. Prior to that Amherst's most heard phrase to me was "why did you come here - nothing ever happens here." I also put out many ideas over the past few years to so many people - I now see other people taking credit for it and not even involving me in discussions. Well done folks, pat yourselves on the back and continue with your coffee mornings chats, banquets and self praise. The chamber of commerce has done zero for Greasy Groove inc. since we moved our manufacturing and exporting company into the town. I have spent the last year working pretty much full time on ideas for Amherst projects at the expense of my own company and have real plans in the works. As for turning the old bank of Montreal building into Sea food restaurant (give me a break), that's exactly what Amherst is not and its a lame idea. I ask those involved to take a look at my real proposal for the building lodged with the town, it addresses all the ideas that I put out to many of those who took them and presented them on the idea day. Success comes from the right people doing the right things - it's about actions and not being afraid to take risks. All of this recent hype from the Chamber is just that "hype", Its a forum for all those who can't see the wood for the trees to self promote and grab ideas from others to enhance their own glory. I invite the chamber to take a rare opportunity to talk to a Company who relocated here from Alberta and actually made a difference in the town - quiet honestly - where were you for the past 5 years of us being here? - do you even know that we are chamber members? "We are Greasy Groove Inc.". OMG, I heard a segment on the radio yesterday - a bunch of talk from the wrong people saying a bunch if meaningless words and phrases captured from elsewhere and presented to make us believe that" they" are the ones steering us to success. Amherst has so much potential and I will continue to be a proponent for its growth and success. I just hate hearing crap from all those who just want to hear there own voices. There I am done with my rant and shall now get on with my role as a doer, not a dreamer.

    • noodle
      October 25, 2013 - 09:40

      I can certainly understand your frustration. There most certainly should've been acknowledgement of you and your family's efforts, and the fact that thanks to your ingenuity, hard work, and years of significant contacts in the music industry the town now has a major festival. I for one applaud what you've done as I'm sure many, many others do. As a very wise man once said, "Don't let the b@st@rds get you down!"

  • Darlene
    October 24, 2013 - 07:08

    Congrats to all the award winners. Special note due to Michelle LeBlanc for excellence demonstrated at the McCully Market (classy) and leadership down town. Your work speaks for it's self and is a real "plus" to the community