The Wolseley Chamber of Commerce had the opportunity to reflect on recent activity while looking toward future operations at its first Annual General Meeting held late last week.
Members of the Wolseley Chamber gathered on Monday evening for its first AGM, for review of its core 2012 program and priorities.
Ex-officio chairperson Stewart Scott said while some community members remain skeptical, the Chamber has been well-received overall.
“Generally, the people were pleased with what we have accomplished so far and what are plans are moving ahead.”
The Wolseley Chamber of Commerce is the first Chamber to form in the province in about a decade, becoming incorporated on Jan. 17, 2012.
Main Street Wolseley was the factor of motivation behind unifying the business community and strengthening the brand of Wolseley. Conversation sparked in November 2011, and a five-person steering committee was established in December. The steering committee was dissolved at the AGM and a Board of Directors will be elected at the next Chamber meeting, in the coming weeks.
Scott said the Chamber will work in tandem with the Town of Wolseley and Main Street Wolseley to elevate the status and awareness of the community- its resources, businesses and amenities.
“We’re looking at the three of us working together in partnership to develop a common brand for the town,” he said. “ The people wanting to locate here- whether for residential or business- know nothing about us so it’s critical that we get our branding and information out on a regional level.”
The Chamber of Commerce will represent the business interests and economic development of Wolseley and district while promoting the establishment of new business and providing networking and marketing opportunities.
Scott said the Chamber is timely and will bring unification and strength to the community as a whole.
“The stronger a community is, the better it bands together. It can then provide a much better unified and cohesive vision amongst the province,” he said. “The higher the profile you have, the more people are going to see you and that in itself often leads to development in the town.”
The Chamber will be working with Saskatchewan Economic Development Association (SEDA) and may possibly form a partnership with SEER.
Next Year’s AGM will see the inception of the Wolseley Business Excellence Awards which will recognize local industry for exceptional product and service.
Wolseley Chamber approved as Small Business Loan Association
Enterprise Saskatchewan has approved the Wolseley Chamber of Commerce to become a Small Business Loan Association (SBLA), providing local business with the opportunity to flourish.
The Chamber has been allotted a reserve of $200,000 to lend to local business. Upon receiving and approving loan applications and business plans, the Chamber may lend up to $15,000 to each business.
Ex-officio chairperson Stewart Scott said interest rates are reasonable, lower than typical rates offered by lenders in the city. The Chamber may also impose a one per cent discount to Chamber members.
“It’s designed to help those small businesses that really don’t qualify with conventional lenders. Sometimes in a small business, just the ability to go and get that one extra piece of equipment allows them to move to that next step of being able to address the market place,” said Scott, adding a Chamber survey revealed that over 50 per cent of Wolseley businesses are operated with one to two people. “You do not have to be a member of the Chamber to access the SBLA. We did not want to restrict it to members alone because we want it to be offered as the business community as a whole.”
The small business loans are typically scheduled for repayment over a five year period. Principal payments are returned to Enterprise Saskatchewan, and the interest component becomes available to the Wolseley Chamber as their working capital.
“It’s already in place and we have received our Charter already,” said Scott. “We’re ready to go and ready to look at our first proposals.”
For more information visit the Wolseley Chamber of Commerce at 515 Garnet St. South, Building A.