The saying goes that, "if you've seen one Chamber of Commerce, you've seen one Chamber of Commerce." While many communities throughout America, and even around the world, have a Chamber of Commerce, each one is unique in both the services that they offer and the businesses they represent. What is a Chamber of Commerce?
A Chamber of Commerce is a voluntary organization of the business community. It unites business and professional individuals and firms, thus creating a central agency which lends itself to improving business and building a better community. A Chamber of Commerce is people and although these are predominantly the members of the business community, there is a place in the Chamber for all who share the desire to improve the community.
The Chamber organizes and directs the energies of those who believe that, a community worth living in is a community worth improving. The Chamber enables these people to accomplish collectively what none of them could do individually. The strength of the organization lies in attracting the greatest number of individuals creating a pool of resources from which can be drawn ideas, energy and finances.
The major responsibility of a Chamber of Commerce is the communityís economic well-being. It works to increase wealth and prosperity by facilitating the growth of existing businesses and fostering new ones. What isn't a Chamber of Commerce?
The Chamber is NOT a government agency. The organization does not receive any federal, state, county or city funding. Who's in charge?
The governing body of the Chamber is its Board of Directors. From small business owners to doctors, the 40+ member board represents a cross-section of the Chamber's membership. The Boardís function is to determine policy for the organization. The Board is also responsible for the organizationís finances, considers and approves the budget and determines the appropriate membership investment schedule.
The Chamber also employs a full time staff of three professionals. The staff manages the day-to-day functions of the organization including planning and hosting special events, publishing the Chamber's newsletter and Web site and fostering community development in the region. How does the Chamber support the business community?
The Chamber performs many functions to foster the growth of the business community. For existing businesses, the Chamber organizes dozens of special events each year, which facilitate networking amongst Terrebonne's diverse business community. Many business relationships have been established at the Chamber's monthly Business After Hours event or even at the annual banquet.
The Chamber also supports its members by referring them to potential customers. Many visitors and newcomers to the area contact the Chamber to find out where to get their oil changed, where to bank, where to eat, etc. The Chamber only refers its members. Every year, the organization publishes a membership directory and community guide, which is distributed to Chamber members and visitors to Terrebonne Parish.