What is a chamber of commerce?
- A chamber of commerce is a private coalition of entrepreneurs.
- It is a network of businessmen and women whose chief objective is to protect the commercial interest of the group.
- These organizations boost business visibility locally through organizing events and, most especially, through representing the business community to the government by giving a unified voice for business owners.
- This group is not a political party or a government agency. However, these groups hold some influence in community development and social issues.
A Brief History
While many chambers of commerce exist locally within our cities and states, these groups transpire internationally as well. The first recorded Chamber of Commerce was founded in Marseille, France in 1599. One of the earliest across the Atlantic was established in 1786 in New York. Cities and municipalities across the globe adopted the chamber of commerce model as an essential component of the social fabric.
What does a chamber of commerce do?
Aside from lobbying the governmental authorities, chamber of commerce helps the economy by aiding small businesses to grow, which creates many opportunities. For instance, they sponsor grand opening ceremonies attended by members. These events give a chance for entrepreneurs to network and form partnerships and customer referrals. Membership within a chamber of commerce improves reputation and credibility of the specific trade. Even more than that, local chambers often offer discounts exclusive for their members.
Joining the organization
Originally, a chamber of commerce recruitment process was done on an individual basis. As the system gained prominence, business owners and corporations more often proactively seek to join local chambers. Members of the chamber can also invite non-member businesses that show potential or may benefit from becoming a member. Such invitations also serve as the orientation for new member businesses.
When businesses join a chamber of commerce, they are not alone. Individual chamber membership ranges from as little as twenty to a hundred thousand companies or individuals. Local chambers are not exclusive to the local community as they are associated with higher tiers of organizations. By not limiting themselves to just a locale, these clubs form an intricate web where they can network and tap a wider pool of experts.
Becoming a member does not guarantee financial success. Generally, however, companies tend to get out of a chamber of commerce what they put into it. Remember, new strings are tied as new ribbons are cut. Chambers of commerce offer an investment to the community at large and avenues for growth for both companies and consumers.