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Welcome to the Kelowna Chamber of Commerce

The Chamber works to ensure the Okanagan region will become the most economically prosperous region - and the most desirable place to live and work - in Canada. As the area's leading membership driven business organization, we are committed to providing value to our members.
 

Events

Get involved & expand your reach with over 60 Chamber events each year! Connect with the Community calendar too!

 

Chamber News

Keep informed with all that’s happening at the Kelowna Chamber!

 

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  • Want to make a larger social or environmental Impact? You're not alone
    May 19, 2016

    Social Enterprises, Social Entrepreneurs, Not for profits... they all have one thing in common - they combine business with social goals. But what are the differences?

    Or what if you don't identify with these business models, but you are interested in giving back?

    Or perhaps your not for profit business model isn't working for your organization anymore?

    As the first province in Canada to introduce a hybrid corporation for companies who incorporate community contribution into their business, and the social enterprise sector growing rapidly in BC, it's a good time to start asking these questions. Join us for lunch on Friday, May 27th at the Hotel Eldorado for an interactive panel discussion by four of Kelowna's most knowledgeable 'social enterprisers', as we recognize BC Social Enterprise Month.

    Discussion will be moderated by Dr. Kyleen Myrah, Professor of Business at Okanagan College, teaching in the areas of management, marketing and social entrepreneurship.

     

  • 31st Annual Golf Tournament to see change
    Apr 28, 2016

    The Annual Kelowna Chamber Golf Tournament is always a fave. This year, the planning committee got together early to implement some fresh ideas.

    The tournament has always had a giving component - a couple of different fundraisers going to different charities. The "Pro Takes a Shot" contest is a hole contest, where players can choose to have the course's golf pro take their shot for a small donation. The other contest for charity is a raffle for Westjet tickets. This year the committee has added in a third fundraiser, a 50/50 at dinner. Instead of choosing separate charities for each contest as in the past, the committee will choose one children's charity that all the funds raised will go to support, creating a larger impact!

    What else is different this year? Well the course of course! We will be at stunning Harvest Golf Club this year! We are looking forward to the scenery and service that this fabulous Club has to offer.

    Another notable improvement this year? We have changed the day of the week this tournament falls on. Instead of cutting into your weekend on a Friday night, this tournament will be on a Wednesday, breaking up the week after a long weekend. The 3rd week of May is shaping up to a pretty stellar week! You might also notice a theme at this year's tournament, but to find out what it is - you'll just have to join us!

    Some aspects that won't change - the chance to win quality prizes and the fun times this day always brings! Mark it in your calendar - May 25th!! Oh and if you sign up by May 4th, you'll be entered in a draw for a future round of golf & carts for you and 3 pals at The Harvest! For more details visit: http://www.kelownachamber.org/events/31st-Annual-Kelowna-Chamber-Golf-Tournament-presented-by-Costco-Wholesale--1637/details

  • The Business Case for Affordable Housing
    Apr 13, 2016

    On March 8, the Kelowna Chamber partnered with the Urban Development Institute in Kelowna to host a discussion on ending homelessness and supporting affordable housing. The Chamber sees its role as working with experts in housing and social services to support an end to homelessness.

    There are business reasons for being interested in affordable housing. At our discussion in March, data from 2011 was presented by the BC Non-Profit Housing Association that summarized the rental market, the cost of housing, and home ownership. These costs are more than most people can afford. Additionally, current housing stock is aging, and new builds aren’t keeping pace with the demographic trends.

    Housing accounts for 23 per cent of BC GDP. If we grow housing, we grow the economy. We recognize that rental housing is critical: it is certainly central for labour mobility and immigration. The magic figure of 30 per cent of income is what people should be spending out of their income, on their housing needs. More than this straps households, and the necessities of food, clothing and transportation fall by the wayside.

    The reality of the labour market is that some people make lower wages than others, yet are critical to our labour pool. These workers and community residents need affordable housing, and need it in order to work, to continue to contribute to the economy, and to avoid the risk of becoming homeless.

    New housing must be addressed by developers and by municipal governments, among others. Pathways include unlocking land – with a look at federal, provincial and municipal policies, and removing barriers to change; design and innovation in mixed use or modular construction; operations and maintenance to keep running costs affordable; and finally financing needs to be barrier-free.

    These requirements and needs intersect with the business plans and practices of many of our members. We want these members all to be aware and working on solutions that will enhance their own success.

    Homelessness costs the Canadian economy $8 billion annually.

    Is homelessness solvable? Yes. For instance, during the 2003 fires in Kelowna, a system was mobilized that incorporated strong local leadership, emergency response, multiple system coordination, and housing that was focused on community mobilization.

    The same type of plan could be designed to end homelessness, and help deal with the overall problem. At the same time, creating such a plan will assist municipal and provincial planners to assist in ensuring that the people working in the Kelowna job market are able to better manage their income, and their housing finance outlays, especially at critical points in their work lives.

    There is another side to homelessness that has implications for business: the expenditure of tax dollars to band-aid solve a chronic problem. The cost of social services, of mental health interventions, in some cases prison, of emergency rooms, hospital stays, and other physical and mental rehabilitation programs – not to mention short-term housing care – definitely adds up. These are social tax dollars that our businesses pay out as part of doing business in Kelowna.

    By shifting our focus to prevention and solutions, we build a better community, re-direct tax dollars to more effective programs that have true long-term resonance in the community, and overall, improve the business and residential environment.

    This shift in focus from crisis to solution can only build a stronger work setting. Numerous ongoing initiatives are already in place, and with a concerted effort at coordination, these initiatives will continue the good work already underway in Kelowna to address the problem.

    Councillor Luke Stack says that with funding secured by previous Mayors and Councils, four social housing projects — the Cardington Apartments on St. Paul Street downtown, Willowbridge, operated by the Canadian Mental Health Association, the NOW apartment building in South Pandosy and Rutland's Newgate Apartments run by the John Howard Society — all became part of the City’s social housing fabric.

    Provincially, former Premier Gordon Campbell called for mayors to address the ongoing problem of homeless, and “get serious”. Kelowna’s Mayors Gray, Shepherd and Basran all have played their parts in doing this. There is also a Kelowna Housing Opportunities Fund that encourages new affordable housing. This program should be ongoing, and function hand in hand with developers. In closing, affordable housing can help Kelowna remain a hub for all types of businesses, both well-established and start-up; can help workers in the service industry find stability on lower incomes; and can overall help businesspeople manage their staffs, their HR needs, and their community contributions toward fixing this systemic need.

    -KCC 

  • Help future generations trace your Family Tree
    Apr 06, 2016

    Anyone who has ever tried tracing their family tree knows what a thrill it is to find the names of their ancestors on official documents. It can be like finding a needle in a haystack or striking gold.

    One of the best sources of official information is the census. Censuses have been used for centuries to record information about mothers, fathers, children, and peoples’ ways of life, income and occupations. To see the name, address and profession of an ancestor who lived a hundred years ago or more can be quite exhilarating.

    The first census in Canada was conducted by Jean Talon, a civil administrator, in 1666. The census counted all 3,215 inhabitants of European descent and logged their age, sex, marital status and occupation. Talon conducted the census to gather information that would help plan and develop the colony.

    In fact, Talon was so committed to the process that he collected much of the information personally, visiting settlers throughout the colony. The rest, as they say, is history, Canadian history. The census has evolved over time into the modern census we have now that takes place every five years. This year marks the 350 year anniversary of the first census.

    To make it easier for your descendants to trace their family tree 100 years from now (census records are kept sealed for 92 years), jot down May 2 in your calendar this year. You will be receiving a package in the mail inviting you to complete the census online or on paper.

    The 2016 Census is mandatory for all Canadians. Three in four households will receive a short-form census, while one out of four will receive the long-form census. The only difference between the two is more detailed questions in the long-form, about things like citizenship and immigration status, birthplace of parents, education, income, housing, child care and other support payments and employment history.

    -KCC