• Charlottetown chamber of commerce hosting week of small business development events

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    Events will take place October 18-22, 2021

    CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. — The Charlottetown chamber of commerce is celebrating small businesses across P.E.I. with a week of in-person and virtual events.

    As part of national Small Business Week, the Greater Charlottetown Area Chamber of Commerce (GCACC) is holding five events from Oct. 18-22 to help small business owners better develop their digital branding and social media presence.

    “We wanted to use the theme of digitization this year, because it has really been a huge part of businesses, especially over the last year and a half with the pandemic,” said Tania Crouse Hardy, events and sponsorship manager with the GCACC.

    Tania Crouse Hardy said the theme was chosen after many of the chamber’s members reached out in March 2020 with questions on how they could keep their businesses operating without in-person meetings or services. While most were quick to adapt, some struggled to bring their businesses online.

    “Everyone is all over the board,” she said, “We’re just trying to nail it in that if businesses have learned anything from the pandemic, it's that we really need to come into the digital world.”

    To kick off the week, a virtual lunch and learn event on social media adaptation is being hosted on Oct. 18 by Volume 18, a Charlottetown strategic marketing firm that specializes in marketing, communications, strategic planning and facilitation.

    The event will teach participants the ins and outs of social media in the business world and touch on how to get started, getting results, content ideas and free resources to use.

    “It’s free, which is one great thing about social media, but it is also an expectation now,” said Christina MacLeod, chief taskmaster for Volume 18. “When people go online to search for local businesses, they are expecting businesses to have accounts and have the details on how to interact with them. Especially in the days of COVID-19, they want to know if they can buy online, is curbside pickup available, what are the hours a business is open.”

    Outside of providing valuable information for customers, MacLeod said social media is also an important advertising tool, allowing companies to engage with customers and benefit from social tags in photos, videos and word-of-mouth posting.

    MacLeod said celebrating and supporting small, local businesses is important for both communities and the economy.

    “We don’t have a lot of large employers on P.E.I. We are really made up of a lot of small businesses, so that is our economy, and we need to grow that,” she said. “As a small business, you don’t have an IT department or a full fleet of administration, so you do a lot of that yourself, which can be difficult some days. It’s the thrill of running a small business but it’s also one of those things where you are all things to all people.”

    About 87 per cent of the GCACC’s membership consists of small businesses, so ensuring the chamber gives them what they need to prosper, especially during Small Business Week, is crucial.

    “Right now, a lot of businesses are just trying to survive,” said Crouse Hardy. “What we are mostly focused on is trying to get them what they need with our events. We always try to bring in what they are asking for. There are a lot of different challenges they face.”

    A full schedule of Charlottetown events, times and locations is available online.

    Cody McEachern