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Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Two Cowboys on a Journey: District Chamber of Commerce Okotoks, Alberta

The Chamber of Commerce 

It is a form of business network, for example, a local organization of businesses whose goal is to further the interests of businesses.

Business owners in towns and cities form these local societies to advocate on behalf of the business community. Local businesses are members, and they elect a board of directors or executive council to set policy for the Chamber. The board or council then hires a President, CEO or Executive Director, plus staffing appropriate to size, to run the organization.

The first Chamber of Commerce was founded in 1599 in Marseille, France. Another official Chamber of Commerce would follow 65 years later, probably in Bruges, then part of the Spanish Netherlands.

The world's oldest English-speaking Chamber of Commerce, in New York City, dates from 1768. The oldest known existing Chamber in the English-speaking world with continuous records, the Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, was founded in 1783. 

As a non-governmental institution, a Chamber of Commerce has no direct role in the writing and passage of laws and regulations that affect businesses. It may however, lobby in an attempt to get laws passed that are favourable to businesses. They also work closely with a number of other youth organizations in the country about the value and role of business in our society today.

Okotoks and District Chamber of Commerce

The Okotoks & District Chamber of Commerce mission is to actively promote, facilitate and strengthen the business climate by providing: Leadership, representation, networking opportunities, service and education to their Chamber members. Their vision is to be a committed, visibly supportive organization contributing to the ongoing health of the Okotoks and District business community.

Chamber members are invited to engage in valuable networking events to exchange ideas, make new business contacts, solve problems, lend support and plan for the future growth and direction of the business community. 

The Chamber offers industry and business insight and information at our monthly member luncheons, participate in community initiatives such as Parade Day, Community Clean-up and municipal events. 

They provide members with a monthly newsletter of Chamber events, and activities. They host and present The Okotoks Trade & Lifestyle show, Business Excellence Awards and other events throughout the year to connect people to their local business community.

Standing Up for Business

Where will our society be without people that produce, add value and exchange this value freely through trade?

This should not be a rhetorical question, it should rather be a statement that exclaims the significant role Producers play in making our civilized society possible. If you have any doubt, there are many examples of countries where business departed, were confiscated, curtailed, depressed, annexed, overtaken and real Producers stopped producing. All of those societies imploded, and some countries that disregarded this, are now facing these dire consequences. 

It still happens every day. Ask any business owner (not just the Producers) how hard it is to start, operate, progress and grow business in today's supposed Developed and Free Market world. Ask the small businesses in the little towns in Canada how easy or difficult it is, and you may be surprised by their answers.

We now live in a society where most people is quite content with abdicating control and responsibility for their daily lives, health and welfare to a federal, provincial or local government. Public spending and services are growing at an alarming rate, and secure employment (or hangers-on businesses) in these services are fast becoming the norm for all student-debt-laden, mortgage-loaded, credit-card-carrying graduates. Starting a business that does not benefit from government handouts, or working for such a private employer is risky business, and less attractive than ever before.

Most businesses (that are not government endorsed, sponsored, initiated, granted, protected or controlled) are at odds with this transition and monopolization of value creation. It should not be government's job to look after people. Instead people should be free to create, produce and exchange value without the interference of an authority. People should look after people and be rewarded to do so by allowing them to be recognized for their contribution.

It is becoming more and more obvious from the amount of taxes, regulation, tariffs, licenses and other stumbling blocks that are placed in the path of entrepreneurial producers, that production and the free exchange of value is not a priority in the majority of our society anymore. 

We are all poorer for it financially, and also mentally. There is inspiration in making something that you value. There is even more inspiration when, what you make is of value to others. Now, all we need to do is restore the opportunity for people to make something, start businesses and freely exchange this value without having to get the permission of a government.

The fact is, that these businesses need all the help they can get. This is where a Chamber of Commerce comes in.

Hendrik van Wyk

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