Traverse Chamber Bulletin
Top Talk
February 10, 2016
Get Those SBC Applications In!
Your small business has a great story to tell. Taking part in the Chamber's Small Business Celebration is a great way to help tell it!

Scores of local companies are nominated for the 2016 Small Business Celebration, the Chamber's annual recognition program for our region's diverse and dynamic small business sector.  Now in its 12th year, the SBC is among Michigan's top small business honors and helps propel numerous participants to new heights in their operations. Learn more about what the SBC can do for your company and why you should apply.

Here's a list of the 2016 Small Business Celebration nominees. These companies have until Friday, February 26 to complete the SBC applications. Businesses that apply will be featured in the SBC Candidates Showcase on Wednesday, March 16 from 5-7 p.m. at NMC's Hagerty Center. It's an opportunity to promote your company to hundreds of attendees from the Chamber and the community.

Other upcoming SBC events include the Meet the Top 10 Breakfast on April 19 honoring this year's finalists, followed by the Awards Ceremony on May 4. Thanks to these SBC sponsors:
IMPACT |  Advocacy for Business
Chamber Tracks TIF, DDA Bills
The Chamber is monitoring proposed state legislation that could impact how tax increment financing (TIF) districts and Downtown Development Authorities operate in Michigan, and will keep membership updated on the issue. Chamber Government Relations Director Kent Wood told the Chamber board this week that TIF and DDA functions have been a critical economic development tool across numerous Northern Michigan communities, particularly in the Chamber's home of downtown Traverse City. Addressing problems with stagnant or unspecified TIF dollars in other parts of Michigan shouldn't create operational issues for effective TIF districts and DDA operations, Wood said.

Wood expects much of the state Legislature's time and energy in the coming weeks will be consumed by the Flint water crisis and long-pending debt issues with Detroit Public Schools, and told the board it may be difficult to get much traction on other issues in the near term.

"It will take up a lot of the oxygen in Lansing right now," Wood said.
CONNECT |  Events and Programs
It's Your Chance to Shine at Prime Time
It's fun to make new friends. Get to know some of our newest associates who joined the Chamber family at our Membership Event in December at Prime Time coming up Tuesday, March 1, from 5 - 7 p.m. at NMC's Hagerty Center.

Click here to see the businesses eligible to take part in Prime Time. It's a special Expo-style event designed to give our new and upgraded members an opportunity to showcase their businesses to their fellow Chamber members and the public, and to thank our volunteers for their extraordinary effort in making our Membership Event such a huge success.
Enjoy our Winter Wonderland
The waters of West Grand Traverse Bay provide the perfect backdrop for an enjoyable evening any time of the year. Join us next Wednesday, February 17 from 5 - 7 p.m. at the beautiful bayside CenterPointe office building in Elmwood Township for this month's Business After Hours.  CenterPointe and Dockside Market will co-host our monthly networking event, overlooking the serene winter setting at the marina. It will be a night of great food, refreshments and sharing time with business friends and associates, including a special shout out to some of our newest Chamber joiners.

Business After Hours is free to Chamber members and presented by:

INSPIRE |  Leadership Development
Leadership at the Movies
The best leaders have genuine partnerships with trust and buy-in from their teams.  Leadership expert Anne Bonney, a John Maxwell Team certified speaker, presents "The Importance of Creating a Genuine, Honest Connection in Leadership" at the 2016 premiere of Leadership at the Movies. The curtain goes up Thursday, March 10, starting at 7:30 a.m. at the Bijou by the Bay theater.

Bonney's program will feature scenes from the movie "The Princess Bride" to highlight the differences between positional and true leaders, and why respected leaders are followed regardless of mission or cost. These free, 90-minute programs offer an inspirational start to your day and have drawn rave reviews from past participants. Register here.

Chamber Leadership programming is supported by:

With additional support from:

Partner News
Venture North Creates Buzz in Benzie
A landmark bee farm and food producer in Benzie County will expand with the help of Venture North Funding and Development. Sleeping Bear Apiaries owners Kirk and Sharon Jones secured a $205,000 Community Development Block Grant loan - Venture North's first CDBG loan in Benzie County - for new equipment and product to expand production.  Learn more  in this story from the Traverse City Record-Eagle.
NMC Career Fair Coming in March
Employers are invited to register for Northwestern Michigan College's annual Career Fair, set for 4-5:30 p.m. March 3 at the Hagerty Center on NMC's Great Lakes Campus.

This event affords employers the opportunity to recruit job-seekers for career-track positions, seasonal and entry-level opportunities, as well as internships and service learning. The Career Fair is open to students, NMC alumni and community members.

Employer registration deadline is this Friday, February 12. To register and for the most up-to-date information,  click here.
Ag Summit Next for Business Connect
Pure Michigan Business Connect and the state Department of Agriculture will hold the third annual Pure Michigan Agriculture Summit at the Radisson Inn in Kalamazoo on Wednesday, March 23 from 7:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. This invitation-only summit brings buyers from the state's largest retailers, processors, universities and hospitals together to meet with Michigan growers and small businesses about new business opportunities.

More than 200 open procurement needs have been identified from 27 participating buyers including Amway, D&B Grocers, Food Bank Council of Michigan, Garden Fresh Gourmet, Harding's Friendly Markets, Meijer, Michigan Fresh Marketing, Plumbs Supermarkets, SpartanNash, Walmart, West Michigan FarmLink, and Whole Foods.

To apply to attend the summit, and review the buyer needs submitted, visit  this link The deadline to apply is February 28.
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