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January 26, 2023
2023 Chamber Ambassador Team launches
The 2023 Aiken Chamber Ambassador Team is ready to connect and serve the Aiken Chamber’s membership. The 41-member team, who represent a cross section of the Aiken Chamber membership, qualified for the prestigious program.
Ambassadors have a promi­nent position of responsibility in the business community. They act as the Aiken Chamber’s pri­mary liaisons for new and ex­isting members and are highly visible at Chamber events.
Working in conjunction with Jim Tunison, the Chamber’s director of membership services, the Ambassador Team works to ensure members are maximizing the many benefits of Chamber membership, such as networking opportunities, educational seminars, and a variety of marketing opportunities.
 “We’re extremely grateful for the time, energy and effort these professionals put into serving the Chamber and its members,” said Chamber President/CEO J. David Jameson. “The extra connection ambassadors provide to our members enables us to keep our membership engaged and helps us to keep our pulse on the business community.”

Jessica Ramp, office manager for Job Shop, will serve as chair of the 2023 Ambassador Team. 

This year’s corporate sponsor for the 14th consecu­tive year is Bridgestone Americas Tire Opera­tions, LLC. Edgar Cardenas, plant manager of Bridgestone’s Aiken passenger plant, said, “As a member of the business community, Bridgestone has chosen to sponsor the Ambas­sador Program for the Aiken Chamber of Commerce again this year because of the impact these individuals have on welcoming and educating the new and existing Chamber members. Ambassadors pro­vide great service to the busi­nesses in Aiken.” 

The Ambassador Team is sponsored by:

Young professionals get connected
Connect Aiken, the young professional program of the Aiken Chamber of Commerce, invites individuals ages 22-39 that live or work in the Aiken area to connect and build relationships with other professionals of their generation at its upcoming drop-in event being held at South on Whiskey - Event and Entertainment Venue in Aiken on Tuesday, Feb. 28, from 5:30 to 7 p.m. JC’s seafood will provide delicious food and beverages for the evening. 
The purpose of Connect Aiken is multi-layered.
For the attendee:
·        Connect to new friends.
·        Connect to the community.
·        Connect to other businesses.
For the area employers:
·        Connected employees are easier to retain.
·        Connected employees are happier employees.
·        Connected employees create business in new areas.
Whatever the ultimate goal of each individual or business, the Connect Aiken peer network will work behind-the-scenes to motivate, encourage, and celebrate being young and doing life in Aiken!

For more information, contact Jim Tunison at the Aiken Chamber of Commerce: (803) 645-0144 or jtunison@aikenchamber.net.

Call for award nominations
The Aiken Chamber is seeking nominations for its prestigious annual awards which recognize the Man and Woman of the Year, as well as the Small and Large Business of the Year. These awards will be presented during the Chamber’s Annual Gala, April 20. Deadline for nominations is March 1. Nominators must be current Aiken Chamber members and nominated businesses must be members of the Aiken Chamber. Visit the Chamber’s website at www.aikenchamber.net for nomination forms or contact Jim Tunison at the Aiken Chamber for further information at (803) 645-0144 or jtunison@aikenchamber.net A list of previous award recipients is available on the Chamber’s website. 

S.C. Chamber unveils its
2023 Competitiveness Agenda
The South Carolina Chamber of Commerce annual Competitiveness Agenda outlines its most pressing policy priorities for the year's legislative session. Year in and year out, the SC Chamber’s goal is to fight for policies that make South Carolina the best place in the nation to live, work, and do business.

The Competitiveness Agenda consists of initiatives impacting job creators and businesses from industry sectors and regions across the state. Competitiveness Agenda items will help South Carolina create a more competitive environment for jobs and businesses, especially as the economy continues to recover from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.   

The Aiken business community contributes to the development of the annual agenda by participating in the SC Chamber Alliance Grassroots Tour led by SC Chamber President/CEO Bob Morgan. Morgan was the guest speaker at the September First Friday Means Business and discussed agenda items and gathered input from over 100 Aiken businesses. 

“As we enter the 2023 South Carolina General Assembly Session, the SC Chamber is committed to capturing the momentum from last year’s session to drive positive results for business in South Carolina,” said SC Chamber President and CEO Bob Morgan. “We have surveyed local companies from across the state about their challenges and priorities and have created a representative agenda that supports businesses – both big and small – throughout the state.”

As South Carolina continues to grow, the General Assembly can unleash our state’s full potential
by embracing these proposals. 

- Address current and future workforce shortages by continuing to provide funding for technical
college scholarships for critical-needs jobs, funding for the Be Pro Be Proud program,
incentives for apprenticeship programs and internships, and support for workforce reskilling/
upskilling initiatives
- Adopt policies to boost the state’s workforce participation, including reasonable occupational
licensing reforms, second-chance hiring initiatives for non-violent ex-offenders, enhancing
teacher recruitment and retention, and improving workforce housing and childcare
affordability and attainability.
- Reduce property tax burdens on businesses.
- Reform or repeal antiquated taxes that deter investment and innovation.
- Continue to invest significantly in all facets of the state’s critical infrastructure.
- Modernize recruiting incentives structure to attract knowledge-based employers.
- Support policies that improve energy availability,
affordability, and reliability to business consumers.  

- Improve the lawsuit climate by basing fault on a fair share of liability, not the “deepest pocket.” 

- Avoid adopting state regulations and standards more stringent than federal requirements
while acknowledging that federal proposals should be viewed as guidance until a robust
federal rulemaking process is completed.
- Consolidate environmental planning and permitting within a “one-stop shop” environmental
agency that appropriately balances economic and environmental interests fairly and impartially
and separates environmental protection from public health.
- Adopt permitting reform to save businesses from facing unnecessary, costly delays.

Visit https://www.scchamber.net/ to learn more
Holley & Company, LLC held a ribbon cutting ceremony January 18 to celebrate its official grand opening. Holley & Company is a CPA firm located at 705 Silver Bluff Road. They offer a broad range of services for individuals and small businesses. To inquire about services, call: (803) 844-0705 or visit www.cpaaiken.com for more information. Office hours are Monday - Thursday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Friday by appointment. Cutting the ribbon is owner Richard Holley with his wife Mallory Holley, team member Kathy Davis, Aiken Chamber of Commerce President/CEO J. David Jameson. They are joined by clients, family members, and members of the Aiken Chamber Ambassador Team.
Food, music, theatre, equine activities and even drag racing are just the beginning when it comes to things to do in Aiken.

Sponsored by A.B. Beverage Company, the Aiken Chamber Weekend Rundown is a once-a-week email highlighting the many happenings in Aiken.
Join the email list here, stay in the know, and get connected to your community.