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Cowichan Groups Collaborate on Business Outreach
Duncan, BC – Cowichan economic development and business organizations are forging a new partnership to consult with local businesses and help support their future development. Starting in early November, the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures and Economic Development Cowichan will be collaborating on a series of six sector consultations aimed at bringing together business leaders in tourism, agriculture, retail, manufacturing and processing, technology, and construction and real estate. The sessions will be facilitated by Ron Lees, Director of Public Sector Advisory Services for the accounting and consulting firm MNP LLP.
The roundtable series stems from the Cowichan Economic Outlook Breakfast in March 2016. Hosted in partnership by the Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce, Community Futures Cowichan and MNP, the purpose of the event was to release and discuss the results of the first-ever MNP Business Leaders Survey for the Cowichan region.
A key theme heard at the event, which attracted more than 100 business and community leaders from across the Cowichan Valley, was the need for increased communication and collaboration amongst communities and organizations in the region, coupled with a renewed focus on economic development.
With the recent hiring of Amy Melmock as the new Economic Development Manager for the Cowichan Valley Regional District, Economic Development Cowichan has become actively engaged in the sector consultation partnership along with the Chamber, Community Futures and MNP.
“The roundtables are a chance for businesses to share common issues and concerns – and to feed this information into our collective strategies for economic development,” Melmock acknowledges. “For the benefit of our business community, we’re making a commitment to act in partnership – now, and as new programs emerge.”
“The roundtable sessions will give us an up-to-the-minute snapshot of the kind of investment and training programs businesses feel are crucial,” predicts Community Futures General Manager Cathy Robertson.
From a Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce perspective, the roundtables are part of an “ongoing pledge to connect businesses and advocate for their needs,” says Executive Director Sonja Nagel.
As the facilitator for six roundtable sessions, Ron Lees says the roundtable format will encourage frankness and open discussion. “We expect these consultations will open the door to new levels of collaboration between everyone involved,” he concludes.
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About Economic Development Cowichan
Economic Development Cowichan (EDC) is the economic development arm of the Cowichan Valley Regional District. EDC works collaboratively to develop a business friendly climate in the region, support new business attraction and sector development, create a sustainable framework for business growth and to promote the business and lifestyle advantages of working and living in the Cowichan. For more information visit www.cvrd.bc.ca
MNP is one of the largest accounting and business consulting firms in Canada, and was the first national firm to establish an office in Duncan. Through a full suite of accounting, tax and consulting services, MNP’s professionals deliver clear, straightforward business advice from a local perspective to help clients succeed. MNP spearheaded the Cowichan Business Leaders Survey in 2016, and partnered with the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance to produce the State of the Island Economic Report in 2015. Visit www.MNP.ca
About Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce
The Duncan Cowichan Chamber of Commerce has been representing the business community since 1908. The Chamber provides professional development and networking opportunities for 450 members, and advocates for a vital business environment in the Cowichan Region. The Chamber operates the Cowichan Regional Visitor Centre that directs tourists and locals to the region’s attractions, accommodations, restaurants, stores and services. www.duncancc.bc.ca
About Community Futures Cowichan
Community Futures is a non-profit community and business development organization created to support small and medium sized enterprises throughout rural BC, paving the way for diversified local economies and job creation. They provide financing alternatives when access to credit is a challenge to starting or growing their business. Community Futures also works with community partners to help foster entrepreneurship and economic development in our region. To learn more visit www.cfcowichan.ca