• Committee Reports

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         COMMUNITY RELATIONS COMMITTEE

    The mission of the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce is to unite and represent Steinbach and area businesses in the belief that the resulting economic growth and stability provides an enhanced quality of life for the entire community.  This statement rings true as many local business owners understand how important it is for their business and employees to be interwoven in the fabric of our local community.

    The mandate of the Community Relations Committee is to bring business and community together. Over the years, the Committee has supported this statement by way of coordinating various community events and participating in community initiatives. As a Committee representative, we look for ways to celebrate many local business successes and support tourism to our community.  This past year while focusing on our legacy event, the Pioneer Days Parade, the Committee had the opportunity to introduce two new initiatives to support our mandate.

    Our Committee is proud to report on the following:

    • Pioneer Days Parade – This year we celebrated the 50th year of the Pioneer Days Parade.  With the Parade focused around its celebration of this achievement, the theme “Golden 50th Anniversary” was selected. The Parade again saw outstanding participation with a total of 140 entries.  The community attendance and support were, again, outstanding to see and continue to be appreciated.  Congratulations to the 2018 Parade winners:

    Best Theme: Steinbach Trailers & RV
    Best Antique: Friesen Drillers
    Best Historical: Big Freight
    Best Animal: David & Katherine Reimer
    Judges Choice: Island Breeze

    • Ramp Up Weekend (New 2018 Event) – During February 2018, the Chamber partnered with North Forge East an organization that fosters entrepreneurial spirit and creates an environment to foster teamwork and community growth.  Ramp Up Weekend was held at our local Red River Campus here in Steinbach and was a 42 hour competition.  The competition started with 60 second business pitches from a total of 19 participants, followed by participants picking the pitch to which they most connected and wanted to be a part of for the remainder of the event.  Not only were we excited to highlight such an amazing facility like our Red River Campus but over the course of the 42 hours, mentors from many diverse business industries helped support and guide? the seven pitches.  They worked together to discuss financials, logos, prototypes, websites and even customer validation.  We had a great turnout of local mentors who volunteered their time.  Following the 5-minute business pitches on the final day of the event, judges deliberated and awards were granted for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place. Cash prizes and six-month NF East memberships were awarded, so winners could continue with momentum of their business proposal.  We are excited to announce the 2018 winners:

     

    • 1st place: My Local Deals
    • 2nd place: Creative Makers
    • 3rd place: AQ

     

    • Steinbach Burger Week – While we hope the introduction to this new community event comes as no surprise to you, consider the excitement and traffic it attracted.  This very month, the Steinbach Chamber of Commerce hosted our very first Steinbach Burger Week.  With an outstanding 12 local restaurant owners participating, this event saw great community involvement and support.  The event saw great traction on social media, news outlets and even on Travel Manitoba as an attraction during this time. 
       

    I would like to thank the Community Relations Committee members for their dedication this year.  On behalf of our Committee, I would like to thank the membership for their support and invite them to give us feedback and ideas to continue to foster a spirit of community here in Steinbach.

    Submitted by Committee Chair, Carley Smith – Steinbach Credit Union

    Matthew Penner – Print Studio One
    Brett Adnum – Golden West Broadcasting Ltd
    Tessa Masi – YWAM Island Breeze Manitoba
    Serge Jolicoeur – Century 21 Gold Key Realty
    Brenton Thompson – Summer Bounce Entertainment

     

     

     

       BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

    The mandate of the Business Development Committee is to promote and support growth and development of business in the community. This Committee will create a learning environment and share information with members through special events, expert speakers, and workshops regarding employment, labour and job creation, workplace legislation and best HR practices, always attempting to help our members improve their knowledge base and develop new skills to strengthen their business.

    Over the past year, this Committee has been effective in accomplishing this mission through a variety of special events.

    Three Lunch and Learn events occurred, covering topics such as IT Security, Productive Conflict, and Public Speaking. Each of these topics provided key takeaways attendees could use in their workplaces.

    The third annual Mentorship Roundtable event was sold out again this year. Mentors included Alan Barkman (Barkman), Colleen Dyck (Gorp), Chris Koop (Chez Koop), Dorinda Penner (Sunshine Nursery and Greenhouse), and Waldo Neustadter (Century 21 Gold Key Realty). These five mentors shared about how they weathered difficult times in their businesses, and maximized the good times for growth.

    New initiatives in 2018 included an Economic Development Breakfast, with keynote speaker Hon. Blaine Pederson, Minister of Growth, Enterprise, and Trade. Over 70 people attended this event and heard about the province’s plans for a new economic development strategy.

    This Committee is also responsible for the upcoming Municipal Election Forum on October 9th, where we will hear from candidates regarding their vision for the city of Steinbach.

    Moving forward, the Business Development Committee will continue to look for ways to help businesses grow and develop. This will include events like Lunch and Learns and the Mentorship Roundtable, in addition to new initiatives. For example, efforts are in place to develop a Chamber leadership program for young professionals in Steinbach. This program will provide a way for leaders to take positive steps forward in their development, and increase their influence. This program will include mentoring, peer networking, personal leadership development, business instruction, and community involvement. Current plans point to a tentative start date in early 2019.

    Submitted by Interim Chair, Ben Dueck – Chamber Executive Director

    Gerald Banman – Harvest Insurance
    Emma Lafreniere – Steinbach Credit Union
    Tracy Oulette – Hylife
    Rick Battistoni – MNP
    Stacey Gagne – SignEx
    Gemma Brown – Smith Neufeld Jodoin LLP

     

     

         MEMBERSHIP SERVICES COMMITTEE

    The mandate of the Membership Services Committee is to develop and implement effective marketing, mentoring, and membership programs to achieve Chamber retention and recruitment objectives.

    Our Committee actively pursues new memberships and works to retain existing memberships through developing and communicating our value proposition to all Chamber members.  We work to identify and respond to the changing needs of our membership and strive to be Chamber ambassadors in our daily interactions with the business community.

    Below is a summary of the key areas of focus for our Committee in 2018:
     

    Membership Growth & Retention

    The Steinbach Chamber of Commerce achieved significant growth over the last few years and experienced an increase in member engagement.

    Given the recent growth of the organization, the Membership Committee in 2018 turned its focus toward its role as a group of ambassadors of the Chamber and focused its activities to encourage member retention. A retention plan was developed for the purpose of staying connected with the membership on a regular basis. The Committee has contributed to executing that plan by committing time for one-on-one contact with members.

    Mixers

    We are proud to report that we again saw great attendance at our Mixers this year. This tells us that our membership is eager to engage and connect with each other. We were also able to involve and highlight more businesses in this year’s scheduled Mixers as some of them took place at locations that house multiple businesses.

    This year’s Mixers were held at Urban Place, Quarry Oaks and the Penfeld Professional Building. We are looking forward to the upcoming Mixer at Loewen in November of 2018 and planning has begun for a great line-up in 2019.

    Thank you to our 2018 Mixer hosts who collaborated with the Chamber and invested time, effort and money in offering a quality event to our membership:

    Eastman Therapy Center, Quarry Oaks, Royal Lepage Riverbend Realty, Silver Eye Sports, Innovative Medical Supplies, Urban Life, Rockridge Interiors, Niverville Credit Union, Lakeview Insurance Brokers, G & E Homes, Smith Neufeld Jodoin LLP

    Business Excellence Awards

    The Business Excellence Awards exist to recognize and celebrate the great work that is being done within our business community. The Membership Committee’s focus this year was to find ways to enhance the program, improve the process and bring more attention to the businesses and organizations the Awards are meant to highlight.

    The Steinbach Chamber of Commerce strives to make the awards selection process as objective and transparent as possible. For all awards, with the exception of the Customer Service Award, which is determined by a public vote, an independent selection committee comprised of Steinbach Chamber members commits time to reviewing submissions and deliberating to determine award recipients. The Membership Committee extends a big thank you to the Awards Selection Committee for their engagement and enthusiasm.

    New Accessibility Legislation – Training Portal

    The Membership Committee is committed to finding ways to add value to your Chamber membership. This fall, new provincial legislation is being rolled out - Accessibility for Manitobans Act. By November 1st, 2018, all workplaces that have more than one employee and interact with the public will have to comply with the new customer service standard for those with disabilities. One component of this act is that every employee needs to be trained. The Membership Committee is working to provide Chamber member businesses with information on the legislation as well as access to a training portal for the purpose of adhering to requirements of this new legislation.

    Closing

    In summary, we continue to look for ways to effectively support our members and add value to your Chamber membership.  We encourage you to reach out to any one of us with your ideas, questions and comments.

    Submitted by Committee Chair, Christine Beaumont - Paul Craft Financial Inc.

    Samuel Teichroew, Vice-chair – Smith Neufeld Jodoin LLP
    Brad Kehler – Network Media O/A mySteinbach.ca
    Elvin Krahn – BDC Business Development Bank of Canada
    Arden Koop – Peters Coop CPA
    Roman Zilber – Cost Wise Business Consulting (resigned in 2018)
    Michelle Bezditny – Chamber Membership Development Coordinator
    Ben Dueck – Chamber Executive Director

     

     

         EASTMAN IMMIGRANT SERVICES (EIS)

    Eastman Immigrant Services (EIS) has been assisting newcomers/immigrants settle into local communities for over fourteen years. We are currently funded by Immigration, Refugee and Citizenship Canada as well as receive funding for our employment program from Manitoba Provincial Government.   Our staff has grown to eight full-time positions, one part-time position and three casual positions.

    Since January 2018, 222 new immigrants have arrived in our area and have connected with EIS to help them in their settlement.  In 2018 alone, EIS provided over 4000 services to immigrants.  This indicates that immigration is strong in our community. 

    English@Work

    This program aims to assist immigrants who are looking to improve their English in the workplace and also takes into consideration what employers are seeking.  Currently, there are four classes being run with an employment focus. 

    English for Truck Driving Tutorial – A small class of individuals who are interested in obtaining their license for professional driving such as bus driving or truck driving.  The purpose of this class is to give individuals the language and vocabulary to be able to enter truck driving/professional driving training.

    Communication@Work – The purpose of this class is to assist immigrants in understanding Canadian culture and communication in the workplace.

    Documents@Work – The purpose of this class is to help immigrants understand health and safety regulations in Canada, employment standards and general documents that are used for work.

    Skype English Class – This is a pilot project run through a local business.  English specific to the workplace is being taught in an online format to a remote location.

    Employment

    Employment continues to be a top priority for newcomers/immigrants in the Steinbach area.  Our Employment Facilitator assists many immigrants each year in the search for employment in our area.  To assist the connection with immigrants to local employers, a new initiative called Workplace Experience Project is currently being developed.  Workplace Experience Project will assist immigrants who are participating in local English classes to complete the required three workshops, develop a current resume, and find an 8-week workplace experience that is suitable for both the individual and the business.  Employers are encouraged to talked with EIS to see how this program can benefit their business.

    Connecting with Community

    Settlement Workers In Schools (SWIS)

    SWIS works with school divisions in the area to better assist newcomer/immigrant children settle into their schools. The objective is to provide settlement information and referrals to education and community resources.

    The project aims to assist newcomer families to better understand the education system. It also provides information and referrals to families on other aspects of life in Canada. 

    The SWIS worker assists the school staff to see the school through the eyes of a newcomer and aims to increase awareness of newcomer issues.

    Local Immigrant Partnership

    These are community-based partnerships that provide a collaborative framework to raise awareness around newcomers’ needs and engage a wide range of local actors in fostering welcoming communities;

    Support community-level research and strategic planning;

    Improve accessibility and coordination of services that facilitate immigrant settlement and integration (settlement organizations and mainstream institutions).

    Storytelling: Community Awareness

    Over the past year, EIS has had the privilege of telling the stories of newcomers/immigrants in the area.  These stories are available via the blog “The Story of Us” on mysteinbach.ca or at steinbachchamber.com.  We are also working together with Southern Health and Golden West Broadcasting to produce video and audio stories to present to the community.

    Volunteer Program

    Our volunteer program includes opportunities to be language buddies, settlement partners or to help with events that are planned through our integration program.  Our language buddy program is especially popular.  Currently we have a waiting list for language buddies.

    Integration Program

    This year, EIS hosted many events to assist newcomers/immigrants with information regarding their new home.  Topics such as Tax Info Workshops, Citizenship Classes, International Cooking Classes, Family Swim Night, Family Literacy Classes, Orientation to Canada Workshops were attended by newcomers and immigrants.  Our Annual Christmas Party and Cultures in the City had large numbers of community members and newcomers/immigrants celebrating together. The collaboration between newcomers/immigrants and community is an excellent example of creating a community where people are valued and community is strong.

    Submitted by Josie Fast, EIS Program Director