Connecting with consumers is the goal of any business community, and that is no different for Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce members.
This year, the chamber is trying to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and pivot to reach new members in a meaningful way, says chamber board director Michelle Kuster.
“We understand the value of staying connected during these times and wanted to provide an opportunity for companies and organizations to collaborate and network,” Kuster said.
“This is all essential to the resiliency Salmon Arm is known for.”
That opportunity will come in the form of Business Connections, the Salmon Arm Chamber Spring Virtual Trade Show, taking place May 12.
The event morning will consist of professional development workshops, featuring guest presenter Megan Hamlet, career coach with the ETHOS Career Management Group, and a “Chow & Chat” networking lunch.
Topics of discussion at the workshops will be professional development, marketing and social media support, and employee recruitment and retention.
The afternoon portion will be a virtual business expo and hiring fair.
Business Connections is being co-sponsored by Total Restoration Services, Salmon Arm Savings and Credit Union, and Okanagan College.
Kuster said the business expo and hiring fair will function like a tradeshow.
“Sometimes you don’t know you need someone on your team until you get the chance to meet them and see something you like,” Kuster said.
The virtual aspect resulting from the COVID influence reflects how communication in the business world has changed, the increased familiarity with online meetings, noted Carolyn Rennie, executive director of the Salmon Arm Chamber of Commerce.
At the Okanagan College Empowering Employment virtual event back in January, Rennie said she was surprised how many students and professionals wanted to pursue their passions and stay local.
“With so many businesses in Salmon Arm and new ones opening all the time, we felt it was important to connect those looking for work with those working and/or hiring locally,” Rennie said.
While virtual networking may be secondary to an in-person connection, it still offers the opportunity for people to meet and share information.
“It is amazing how much you can learn form someone you normally wouldn’t maybe approach outside of the ‘virtual atmosphere,’” Rennie said.
While the job and fair and business expo is open to the public, participants must register in advance.