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A Disappointment to Local Entrepreneurs & Economic Development

· Conroe,Chamber of Commerce,Business,Economic Development,Complaint
Empirically speaking... Conroe's Chamber of Commerce claims to support "BUSINESS & ENTREPRENEURIAL DEVELOPMENT," albeit I am very disappointed with their lack of effort to act on that.

The following article is retrieved from their official website. Read below, but be advised I've never even received a response from them in the past 10 years regarding all of my ventures:

Business Development is crucial to the future of the Conroe / Lake Conroe Chamber of Commerce and the communities it serves. In order to ensure the sustainability of our region, we must effectively assist businesses to develop, grow and create quality, good paying jobs for our citizens. We also understand that small businesses are the driving force of our community. To ensure that our smaller enterprises have every opportunity for growth, success, and profitability, we must provide meaningful programming and support that will assist them with their ongoing challenges.

Objective 1: Provide the programs, projects, workshops, seminars, and services that meet the professional development and business relationship building needs of our small business members.
Action Steps:

  • Conduct a programming needs assessment to determine our member’s training needs.
    • Provide a series of six – eight seminars and workshops each year to meet the developmental needs of small businesses.
      • Chamber University
  • Host an annual business expo for member businesses to have the opportunity to promote and market their products and services, and grow their customer base.
  • Develop partnerships with SCORE, Lone Star College, appropriate regional colleges, and others (i.e., financial institutions) to provide appropriate programs and services to mentor and support existing and potential business owners.
  • Provide various opportunities for networking, business relationship building, and exposure, while generating non-dues revenue for the organization.
    • Business After Hours
    • Business to Business Networking Breakfast
    • Lobsterfest
    • Tastefest
    • Chairman’s Ball
    • Golf Tournament
  • Explore new options for better member and employee participation at Chamber seminars, workshops, and business focused events.

Objective 2: Create a Division to provide programs, services, and projects that will retain and grow our minority and women-owned small business sector.
Action Steps:

  • Host focus groups to determine the specific needs of minority businesses (Women, Hispanic, African-American, and other minority owned businesses).
  • Recognize small emerging and existing businesses on an annual basis each year.
    • Minority(Women / Hispanic / African – American)
  • Utilize / Partner with SCORE to mentor and advise minority business owners.
  • Utilize regional Small Business Development Centers as a business resource.
  • Develop a business-to-business mentoring program.
    • Fully utilize our qualified members when possible
  • Develop”roundtable”discussion sessions for minority owned businesses.
  • Launch “Women in Business” event to encourage professional development and networking among female professionals in our service area.

Objective 3: Develop programs and resources to encourage entrepreneurism.
Action Steps:

  • Work with the appropriate agencies to develop information and resources to assist entrepreneurs in moving their ideas from daydreams to reality.
  • Explore the establishment of a Conroe Entrepreneurs Resource Network (CERN)
    • A collaboration of businesses / educational institutions / organizations
  • Establish a series of workshops to educate and train potential entrepreneurs.
  • Establish an Entrepreneurs “Boot Camp” to offer entrepreneurial training. Examples:
    • One evening per week for 6-8 weeks of intensive education.
    • Benchmark other chamber programs that are successful.
    • Develop a small business / entrepreneur resource portal to our website.
    • Develop an Entrepreneurial contest with cash awards & in-kind services.
      • Spartanburg, SC – Main Street Challenge
      • Durham, NC – Store Front Window
      • Knoxville, TN -Big Ideas!
  • Utilize SBA and other appropriate organizations to determine best approach.
  • Create a small business solutions center to offer resources, training, and educate small businesses on “best practices.”
  • Offer a series of educational workshops to assist small businesses in understanding how to become compliant with government regulations; permitting processes, etc. (utilize IRS and SBA).
  • Post information and appropriate links on website (i.e. Small Business Support Hotline and SBA).
  • Post legislative and regulatory concerns of small business on Chamber website along with current actions of our Public Policy committee.
    • Utilize the Texas Association of Business

Objective 4: Work with other appropriate organizations in our region to make it easier to create and operate a business in Conroe, Montgomery, and Willis.

Action Steps:

  • Develop a task force of business owners, appropriate city & county staff and others to review the process of establishing a business.
  • Identify obstacles and constraints.
  • Suggest and, when appropriate,offer solutions.
  • Conduct surveys, focus groups, and a business visitation program to determine the key challenges as it relates to operating a business in Conroe, Montgomery, Willis, and throughout Montgomery County.

Objective 5: Engage our larger businesses in the programming and work of the Chamber.
Action Steps:

  • Establish a visitation (business retention call) program with our larger companies to establish a rapport and develop an understanding of their specific needs and requirements.
  • Determine their unique needs and assist when appropriate
  • Ask for their participation and that of their key employees
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