The manager of Nakusp’s Chamber of Commerce wants local business to have a larger voice in provincial affairs.
Cedra Eichenauer says a provincial business survey and ongoing opinion-gathering service will allow them to have input on important issues of the day.
“We’ve been trying to encourage people to participate,” says Cedra Eichenauer of BC Mindreader and the Collective Perspective.
“BC Mindreader is an online community where you sign up once, and you answer questions about how big your business is, how many employees you have and what sector you are in,” she says. “So the next time you respond to their survey request, you just have to answer the questions, they already know who you are.
“So that gives it a super-quick turnaround. If there’s some issue that comes up — say, for example caribou protection — they can get a quick response from the business community that they can take to the government.
Eichenauer says the BC Mindreader program can help give Nakusp businesses an ongoing voice they feel they don’t have now.
“What I see is that this is a really good way for the business community here, that feels so isolated, to get our voice heard on a provincial level,” she says. “We feel like we are lost in the wilderness and people don’t hear about us, don’t know about us, and don’t come here.”
And if your business view is different from the B.C. Chamber, she says that might have a better chance of being reflected when the provincial chamber does its lobbying.
“I often find when I am talking to local businesses, they have a different set of priorities than the B.C. Chamber does, and I would love the B.C. Chamber to hear that,” she says. “If the B.C. Chamber says it speaks for business in B.C., then they need to hear other opinions too.”
SEE: BC MINDREADER
The second service is more time-sensitive, but equally important. Through BC Mindreader, she says the Chamber is currently collecting information for its annual ‘Collective Perspective’ survey.
The provincial Chamber is collecting data on business health, growth, and confidence, among many other issues. It’s useful information that Eichenauer says a small local group like hers just doesn’t have the resources to collect.
“I’m so busy trying to keep the day-to-day stuff going I don’t have the chance to engage with our membership as I would like to,” she says.
“This way we get that information from our membership and businesses without me personally having to do all the work of creating the survey, and managing the input,” she adds.
The Nakusp Chamber is usually included in a more general ‘Perspective’ report about the West Kootenays, but Eichenauer says if 50 local businesses sign up and provide their responses by Oct. 31, they will get a customized report for the Nakusp area specifically.
“And that will help our board focus on what we need to be looking at, and help me engage with the municipal government around some of these things, and it will give us all a slightly clearer picture of how we sit with the province,” she says.
And if enough local businesses engage in the surveys, the local chamber can have its own questions added to the survey, increasing the information’s usefulness even more.
Both surveys are free to participate in.
“It only costs you your time,” says Eichenauer.