Your weekly round up of BizNews from throughout Greater Victoria
March 17, 2021
Extra $30M to help businesses grow e-commerce
The provincial government announced today that the Launch Online Grant program will receive an additional $30 million because of high demand. The program launched in February with $12 million to help business build or expand e-commerce capabilities. The extra funds are expected to support 4,000 more businesses, on top of the 1,500 that have already benefited from grants of up to $7,500.

The program is being administered by Alacrity Canada and money is re-invested in BC-based website development companies.
Alacrity Canada: Member since 2019
Province studying how to help local seed producers
An investment in seed production will help increase food security across BC, including on Vancouver Island. The province announced Monday that it is looking into adding infrastructure to increase local production of vegetable, grain and plant seeds.

“All seed producers in our area have been struggling to increase our production in order to keep up with increased demand," Saanich Organics' Theresa Heinekey said in the government's news release.

“Many seed producers are smaller, family-run farms that cannot afford their own seed cleaning and packaging equipment, but, by expanding the role of our food hubs to include those services, we can help solve that problem,” Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries Lana Popham said.
Local food production more important than ever
Hear how new Buy BC programs and food hubs aim to support local producers on March 30 at our virtual event with Hon. Lana Popham, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.
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The Chamber presents Online Trivia Game Night!
Nothing trivial about a fun night with co-workers at The Chamber's Online Trivia Night!

Do a little team-building, stretch your skills and let loose your inner competitor in a virtual way. Enter a team of 4-6 and be as silly or as serious as you like.
Log in here and register today for this exclusive Chamber member event.
VicPD asking for help as Citizens’ Assembly on hold
Renewed calls from the mayors of Victoria and Esquimalt for a regional police department need to be carefully considered in order to meet the best interests of Greater Victoria. The Victoria Police Department needs help. Victoria and Esquimalt account for about one-quarter of the region's total population of 400,000, yet VicPD is tasked with protecting a downtown that serves the entire region.

Before the pandemic, Victoria and Saanich were engaged in a Citizens' Assembly process that will examine the benefits and challenges of merging the two municipalities. One of the outcomes will be a better understanding of how Saanich and Victoria police departments can work together. After all, their role is to improve safety for citizens, many of who have daily lives that cross between municipalities.

Before the pandemic, The Chamber was encouraged that the Citizens' Assembly process, currently on hold until in-person meetings can be done safely, was the best way to move forward on better regional services. The concerns voiced by VicPD show how vital it is for that process to move forward as soon as possible.
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
Victoria Police Department: Member since 2008
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
Township of Esquimalt: Member since 2020
Women-owned business face funding challenges
Helping women entrepreneurs get the funding they need to run a successful business will be key to our economic recovery. A recently released report by the Women's Enterprise Centre helps explain the unique challenges facing women who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic.

This report outlines strategies to get back to growing the overall number of women entrepreneurs, as was happening before COVID-19.
Women's Enterprise Centre: Member since 2015
Chamber Chats with CEO Bruce Williams
COVID-19’s Impact on Philanthropy
The demand for non-profit and community organizations has become even more important throughout the COVID pandemic, and many have seen a profound shift in their funding and support. What’s the future of philanthropy and its impact on the work of non-profit and non-governmental programs? 

Chamber CEO Bruce Williams speaks with Sandra Richardson, CEO of The Victoria Foundation, and Mark Breslauer, CEO of The United Way of Greater Victoria, in this week’s Chamber Chat.
Special thanks to our series sponsor: Island Savings
The Victoria Foundation: Member since 2004
United Way of Greater Victoria: Member since 1972
Plastic bag restrictions returning in Victoria, Saanich
One of the consequences of the pandemic was that a number of things were put on hold. Among them were restrictions on plastic bags as uncertainty about how COVID-19 spread created concerns around reusable alternatives. With a better understanding of the science, consumers are once again creating a demand for less plastic waste.

On April 15, the City of Victoria is scheduled to bring back a revised bylaw restricting plastic bags. Businesses can pick up a tool kit with posters, till toppers and fact sheets by emailing [email protected].

The District of Saanich is also bringing back restrictions on plastic bags. Saanich council voted on Monday to add the bylaw to its June 15 meeting for final adoption.
City of Victoria: Member since 1962
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
Saanich housing report offers 74 recommendations
The future of housing in the District of Saanich is up for discussion as council is set to receive a report on March 22 with 74 recommendations. Saanich convened a Housing Strategy task force, which met 13 times between September and February.

The report ranks the priority of recommendations in specific areas of focus:
  • Increase Affordable Housing
  • Support Housing Diversity and Supply
  • Promote and Protect Rental Housing
  • Reduce Barriers to Housing
  • Strengthen Partnerships and Build Awareness
  • Uptown-Douglas Plan
  • and Development Cost Charge Bylaw Update

Residents will have an opportunity to provide feedback on the report. The Chamber continues to advocate for housing solutions that make life more affordable for the regional workforce needed for Greater Victoria's economy to thrive.
District of Saanich: Member since 2019
Highlighting our Chamber Champions
As part of the celebration of Chamber Week in February, our Chamber Champions submitted quotes highlighting the importance of investing in The Chamber. Each week we will be showcasing these quotes.
"The Chamber shares our values of supporting local, and the importance of being sustainable and environmentally friendly. We're proud to be part of this group of community leaders."
Learn more about how these organizations are championing the work of The Chamber.
Happy St. Patrick’s Day from The Chamber!
Although we may still be apart, here are a few tips to make today full of Irish fun.
May your troubles be less and your blessings be more, and nothing but happiness come through your door!
Chamber Job Board

This St. Patrick’s Day find talent at the end of the rainbow with The Chamber’s job board!

We all know that a great employee is worth more than a pot of gold, but finding them can be more difficult than finding a leprechaun. 

When you post a position on The Chamber’s job board, your post gets highlighted in BizNews and on the Google Jobs Network, maximizing the views it receives from talented candidates. 

Increase your luck finding your next employee today. If you have any questions, please email 
Member News
Creating blooms across Canada

With more than 65 billion blooms counted during the 46th annual Greater Victoria Flower Count, our region celebrated a cornucopia of flowers. Traditionally, the Victoria Conference Centre sends fresh daffodils to clients to share the blooms from Victoria. This year, as we send a virtual get-well bouquet to the rest of Canada, the Conference Centre is sending flower seeds from Victoria across the country as a reminder that next year we can enjoy the blooms together again. 
Victoria Conference Centre: member since 1990
Supporting Black entrepreneurs

The Business Development Bank of Canada has launched six new partnerships to support Black entrepreneurs. In an effort to address systemic racism and with a goal to support Black business owners, BDC is launching a webinar series to connect a diverse pool of entrepreneurs to discuss financial literacy, e-commerce and networking. 
Business Development Bank of Canada: member since 1976
I’m In! Victoria

To help support local tourism businesses, Destination Greater Victoria and the Downtown Victoria Business Association created the “I’m In! Victoria” campaign, running now until the end of March. The initiative aims to support local businesses by providing discounts, membership offers or gift certificates to increase much needed cash flow. Read more about the campaign in Douglas Magazine here.
Destination Greater Victoria: member since 1988
Downtown Victoria Business Association: member since 2007
Douglas Magazine: member since 2004
Jumping for joy

Flying Squirrel Victoria has officially reopened! Offering trampoline courts, rope courses and more, Flying Squirrel Victoria is celebrating their reopening by giving away free 60-minute jump tickets. Safely jump into the fun just in time for spring break.

Flying Squirrel Victoria: member since 2018
Elate shines in Forbes

Elate Cosmetics has been featured in Forbes Magazine, highlighting their sustainable business practices. The article focuses on how Elate is continuing to innovate to reduce overconsumption, including moving away from bamboo packaging in favour of a Bento Box style palette, which they claim will be the last palette you ever need to purchase! 

Elate was a finalist in the 2020 Business Awards for their Sustainable Business Practices.
Eluma Beauty Inc (Elate Cosmetics): member since 2019
UVic’s Grad Box

Students graduating from the University of Victoria this spring will receive a Grad Box to celebrate their achievement. Although an in-person graduation ceremony will not be held, Grad Boxes include the student's parchment (degree/diploma/certificate), printed program, mortarboard and tassel and alumni gift.
University of Victoria: member since 1976                  
University of Victoria: Chamber Champion since 2020    
Langford wins Recovery and Resiliency Award

The BC Economic Development Association has announced the City of Langford has won an Economic Recovery and Resiliency Award. Within the Community under 20,000 category, Langford won this award for its I AM Langford campaign, which showcases local businesses and provides deals for restaurants, hotels and more. 

City of Langford: member since 2019
Basketball Staycation contest closes tomorrow

We the West Basketball Festival has partnered with the Oak Bay Beach Hotel to provide a lucky winner with an ultimate staycation package for basketball fans in the Capital Regional District. ⁠⁠You can win a one-night stay for two at the Oak Bay Beach Hotel in a room with an HD TVs and access to NBA games. Other prizes include a $75 food and beverage credit for the OBBH's Snug Pub, a gift card for Cook St. Liquor, a $100 NBA Store gift card, and a We The West VIP merchandise package. ⁠⁠ Enter the contest on Instagram here before Thursday, March 18.

We the West Basketball Festival: member since 2020

Oak Bay Beach Hotel: member since 2011
Capital Regional District (CRD): member since 1993
Oak Bay Beach Hotel: Member since 2011
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