Celebrating Small Business Week!

The SouthCoast Chamber and Bristol County Chamber of Commerce are excited to announce that the region’s first “Celebrating Small Business Week” will begin Sunday September 15, and end Saturday September 22, 2019. This week of small business appreciation will feature chamber-sponsored events including a dinner with Governor Charlie Baker, an “Off the Clock” event with the SouthCoast Young Professionals Network, a Business After Hours, a small business seminar with SEED and BankFive, and a SouthCoast Business Builder’s Breakfast.

The Chambers recently announced an integration of operations effective January 1, 2020. They will be collaborating to put on the Celebrating Small Business Week.

Dinner with Gov. Baker will take place on Tuesday, September 17th from 5:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at White’s of Westport 66 State Rd, Westport, MA 02790. The governor will be addressing topics such as regionalism, early education, small business, and SouthCoast Rail. The cost to attend, which includes dinner, is $65 per person and registration is required. Register here.

The SouthCoast Business Builders Breakfasts are well-known and well-loved by chamber members. This next installment will take place Wednesday, September 18th at Bittersweet Farm Restaurant and Tavern, 438 Main Rd, Westport, MA 02790. This event provides the Chambers’ members, guests and friends an early-morning opportunity to increase your access to leads, build your book of business, and encourages meaningful professional relationships. The cost to attend, which includes a light breakfast, is $15 per person and registration is required. Register here.

Lastly, on Thursday, September 19th professionals between the ages of 21-39 who live, work, or play in the SouthCoast are invited to attend “Off the Clock” at Merrill’s on the Waterfront, 36 Homer’s Wharf New Bedford, MA 02740. This unique event blends educational opportunities with peer-to-peer networking. The event will include appetizers, cash bar and networking. This event is free but registration is required. Register here.

 

For more information or to register for one of these events, please contact the SouthCoast Chamber at (508) 999-5231 or visit southcoastchamber.com.

Read More

Powering Our March towards a Renewable Future

by Rick Kidder, President/CEO of SouthCoast Chamber

Like most people in Massachusetts, I value and applaud the commitment our state has made to being an environmental leader. Here on the South Coast, we are excited to lead the way on offshore wind development and share the desire to have our future energy needs provided for by renewable sources. As a pragmatist, I note that a 100% renewable future is a long way away, and as we welcome the growth of green power — and green jobs — we still need to have policies in place that keep energy costs reasonable and prevent needless gorging on coal and oil.

It goes without saying that the high cost of energy is problematic for consumers and for businesses. You’ve heard it over and over again: we pay the highest electricity prices in the continental United States. We know that this is a regional problem because New Englanders paying an estimated $1 billion in increased energy costs every year. Massachusetts is also the fifth costliest state in which to do business. For a high tech company choosing between Silicon Valley and Boston, this might be less of an issue, but we run the risk that an existing manufacturer in New Bedford may view the price of energy as cost-prohibitive and choose to head to a location out of state where energy costs are lower. Worse yet, we may never know the potential employers we have lost or could lose who made a choice other than our communities due to fears about current and future energy costs.

We are still a manufacturing and cold storage center, and reliability remains a concern. This winter’s cold snap brought that cold, hard reality to Massachusetts and the rest of the region — we simply do not have enough clean sources of energy to keep our businesses running. To ease the burden on consumers and to help business and manufacturing grow we need to expand our access to natural gas.

Natural gas is currently the most widely used form of electricity production in Massachusetts, powering most of our buildings and heating more than half of our homes with nearly 100% reliability. Expanding natural gas infrastructure along an existing footprint in a safe, thoughtful manner could begin delivering lower cost electricity to consumers within five years. If we commit to expanding our natural gas supply (and keeping the pipeline within its existing footprint), we can lower our energy costs and add enough electricity to power more than 5 million homes within 5 years — all while moving ahead with our climate goals as our planned renewable energy sources come online.

Read More

Partridge Snow & Hahn to provide Legal & Economic Updates to Chamber Members

This is a sponsored post on behalf of Partridge Snow & Hahn.

Welcome Message

When Partridge Snow & Hahn LLP first opened our doors in New Bedford in 2003, our lawyers had a vested-interest in helping to build an economic and cultural renaissance in the Southcoast region. The area was only just starting to recover from the 1990-1991 recession, where unemployment rates in some of our cities were reported in excess of 20 percent. I have lived and worked in Southcoast nearly all of my life, and vividly remember this time in our region’s history when the future of the area looked bleak. But, even in those dark days, there was promise, a newfound energy and a commitment from residents, businesses and community leaders who had great ideas and the determination to return Southcoast to the thriving and prosperous community it once was. I believe that today’s Southcoast looks very much like the picture these visionaries painted for the area all those years ago.

 

The New Bedford Economic Development Council recently reported that from November of 2015 to November of 2016 the unemployment rate in New Bedford dropped to 3.7 percent, resulting in the greatest unemployment decrease in the nation. In the last few years, we’ve seen dozens of businesses establish a presence in the region, including banks, manufacturing, marine technology, alternate energy, hotels and restaurants, casting a positive spotlight on our corner of the Commonwealth as a result.

 

The downtown historic district of New Bedford is almost unrecognizable compared to what it was a decade and a half ago. New restaurants, galleries and artist studios are making this city an exciting and lively place that attracts not only tourists, but new business prospects and potential investors as well. Developments such as the Killburn Mill Project, New Bedford Business Park, and the New Bedford Wind Energy Center have unlimited potential, and the long anticipated arrival of the South Coast Rail will continue to generate more opportunity for economic development.

 

There is an enthusiasm in Southcoast that is stirred by all of these projects, and the dozens more I don’t have the space to mention. The work we are doing as members of this business community is creating a buzz that reaches far beyond our vibrant and diverse Southcoast Region. Our economy is thriving, and the future of Southcoast looks more promising than it ever has before. In 2017, the Southcoast Chamber welcomed more than 163 new members, due to the extraordinary efforts of Rick Kidder and his team, but also because businesses continue to recognize the potential of our community, and the power of working together through the Chamber to help ensure that progress remains constant.

 

As a 2018 sponsor of the SouthCoast Chamber, my colleagues and I at Partridge Snow & Hahn will be writing a monthly column for the Chamber. It is our goal to highlight issues that impact our region in an effort to help Chamber members navigate this growing economic landscape. We want our columns to be of value to you, so please let us know if there is a topic you are interested in learning about. We also want to partner with you, and if you are interested in co-authoring a column, we’d love to hear from you. It certainly is an exciting time to be in Southcoast, and the role each of you are playing in helping our community realize this success is applauded. Thank you.

 

I wish you all happiness, good health, prosperity and continued success in 2018. Happy New Year.

 

Randy Weeks
Partner in Charge,
Partridge Snow & Hahn, LLP
SouthCoast Office
Read More

Message from the Membership Campaign Co-chair

If you are a business owner you owe it to yourself, your employees, your customers and your bottom line to seriously consider joining the SouthCoast Chamber of Commerce. It is headed by a solid team of professionals that are dedicated to helping ensure that your business grows and thrives. There are so many benefits! From networking opportunities, expos, sponsorships, ribbon cuttings, advertising opportunities, committees, shop local programs, advocacy, the list goes on. You’ll be working side by side with fellow businesses to not only help your business but continue to grow and succeed as a community. If you are a member already, you know full well how beneficial your membership is. And,if you are not a member yet, I urge you to join during the 2017 SouthCoast Chamber of Commerce Membership Drive.

Chris Johnson
Marketing Manager of SERVPRO® of Dartmouth / New Bedford and Marion/Middleboro
2017 Membership Campaign Co-chair

 

Read More

STEM Employers Step Up To “Hire A Youth”

By Brenna Souza

The Greater New Bedford Connecting Activities Partnership relies heavily on our involvement with area employers in order to be successful and to ensure that we make the most out of all high school interns’ experiences. The focus this year at the state level for Connecting Activities is to recruit and partner with more employers within the STEM field who are looking to “hire a youth.” STEM is based on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics and students are being educated within all four disciplines. Work in the STEM field is growing rapidly and statistics have shown that the need for STEM related jobs will rise drastically by 2018.

The GNBCAP was extremely lucky this year to get the chance to partner with Tegra Medical, LLC. Tegra Medical stepped up and sponsored three students through the Connecting Activities internship program, who have worked in Engineering and Manufacturing while at the facility. Tegra Medical is a STEM employer who focuses on precision machining and contract manufacturing, which services the medical device industry.

Kenneth Campanale the Director of Regulatory and Quality at Tegra Medical, spoke with the GNCAP on the benefits he feels his organization received from hosting student interns. Mr. Campanale stated, “We have received more than what we have given to these students. The students are well prepared to work in a new environment and have a great work ethic. They have been an excellent resource to our team. Once they are trained on a task, they need little supervision with completing the task. We look forward to the summer months because we will have these resources to help support our team.”

Click here to see a video about the students experience at Tegra.
(video provided courtesy of Bristol Community College)

Employers who choose to host these student interns are given the chance to someday offer the students an opportunity to be employed closer to home and bring work back to the South Coast area. While hosting a student intern, an employer is giving the students the power and tools needed in order to be successful in the future. The objective for the GNBCAP is to provide a work experience that gives students the opportunity to expand knowledge gained in the classroom by applying it in a work setting.

If you are interested in hosting a student intern or would like more information, please contact Brenna Souza (508)999-5231 ext. 29 or bsouza@southcoastchamber.com

About the Connecting Activities Partnership
The Greater New Bedford Connecting Activities Partnership, a collaboration of the City of New Bedford Office of the Mayor, the Greater New Bedford Workforce Investment Board and Youth Council, Bristol Community College and the SouthCoast Chamber, promotes the connecting of academic and workplace learning through Connecting Activities workplace internships. Area employers assist high school seniors to make more informed decisions about their future education and career choices. Currently, we service students at Dartmouth High School, Fairhaven High School, New Bedford High School, Old Colony Regional Vocational Technical High School and Old Rochester Regional High School. More information about the partnership is available at www.southcoastchamber.com or by calling (508) 999-5231.

Read More

Re-Branding FAQ

Re-Branding FAQ

New D.B.A. – SouthCoast Chamber

New Tagline – Proudly Serving New Bedford and the Towns of the South Coast

Legal Name: New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce

 

The New Bedford Area Chamber has been in existence since 1885. Why re-brand now?

While the Chamber has had many names since it began to serve the business community of the South Coast, it is only in recent years that the Chamber has recognized the need for regionalism and regional strength to support the economy of New Bedford and the entire region. Our name and tagline must reflect the importance of New Bedford and all of the ten communities we serve if we are to realize this goal.

 

Isn’t the Chamber affiliated with the City of New Bedford?

No, the Chamber is an independent not-for-profit business, unconnected to government in any contractual or virtual sense. The Chamber receives no funding from the city and is taxed like any other business. We are the home to business leaders, many of whom have deep commitment to the success of our city, but the Chamber is an independent business like the members we serve.

 

Why SouthCoast Chamber and why is a tagline important?

The Chamber serves 10 communities in the South Coast region, with New Bedford as the largest. New Bedford is our traditional home, and there is no desire to change that in this process. The name reflects our service region with the tagline calling out New Bedford as the major metropolitan area while also helping define our identity outside of that great city.

 

Why is regionalism so important?

Each city and town we serve is important in and of itself, but as a region, we can speak with a louder voice, particularly in Washington and Boston. This region has for too long been saddled with slower economic growth than other parts of the Commonwealth, and it is crucial that the business community bands together on behalf of economic progress for our region. We are more powerful when we reflect our true self – the largest chamber in a region that must fight for great policy. We have recently joined forces with the Bristol County Chamber of Commerce to execute an initiative called the Southeastern Massachusetts Legislative Chamber Alliance in order to leverage our two memberships and have more clout on Beacon Hill. We hope to have other chambers come on board in the coming months.

 

59% of all New Bedford jobs are held by people who live outside the city and commute in. A similar percentage of New Bedford residents hold jobs in other parts of the region, showing both the mobility of the workforce and the interdependence of all communities on the South Coast. A growing or new business in Wareham will employ people from New Bedford, and a growing or new business in New Bedford will draw workers from throughout the region.

 

What does this change mean for our members?

Our members have been loyal to this organization and its goals for business growth and support since 1885. To our members, we hope to be sending a new and powerful message that we are here for them and we are here for our region. No business seeks customers only from the city or town where they live. Businesses are in the business of growth. Dartmouth businesses want New Bedford customers. New Bedford businesses want customers from Westport and Wareham. We reflect their desire for growth, and we seek to grow as well – with the knowledge that our growth helps support every member in new ways. Whether through networking, business education, addressing issues of importance as advocates or providing opportunities for a business to showcase its excellence, the Chamber’s growth is part of their growth. The economic growth of the region is part of their growth.

 

Are you changing your legal name?

The SouthCoast Chamber is a D.B.A. but the New Bedford Area Chamber of Commerce remains our full and legal name. The Chamber also maintains a small 501.c.3 foundation called the New Bedford Area Chamber Foundation which serves to assist in community betterment. To change our legal name would require the Chamber to go back to all entities with which we have a contractual relationship and change legal documents that are currently in place. Many of our dues paying members have the name built into their bill payment systems and software and for their convenience and ours a legal change could add inconvenience.

 

What do you hope to gain from the change?

Like any company, we are looking to grow in part by using our name to reflect the market we serve. While New Bedford is and likely always will be where the largest concentration of our members call home, we are also looking to broaden our appeal in communities we serve less completely and who may not see themselves as satellites of New Bedford. We are working on an innovative joint membership program with the Cape Cod Canal Region Chamber for businesses physically located in Wareham, a community with many businesses and that is underrepresented in either chamber. We want to work with our fellow chambers throughout Southeastern Massachusetts to advance all businesses each of us serves.

 

Read More