June 10, 2019
The Medicine Hat and District Chamber of Commerce (MHDCC) was recognized by the Alberta Chambers of Commerce (ACC) with the Chamber of the Year Award.
This is the fourth time in the last decade that the MHDCC has won the award in the 651 memberships and above category. They also received the award in 2015, 2012 and 2008.
“This award is about credibility for our members,” says Lisa Kowalchuk, executive director of the MHDCC. “It shows our community that we are working hard on their behalf and that we are recognized provincially for those achievements amongst the 126 chambers within Alberta.”
A team of judges evaluated chamber submissions on advocacy, membership, submission presentation and self-evaluation. The MHDCC was able to demonstrate its fiscal responsibility as an organization, along with membership growth.
In the last decade, the number of memberships has steadily increased, despite a dip in renewals during the most recent economic downturn.
Between Dec. 31, 2017 and Dec. 31, 2018, 134 businesses became members. New members ranged from large industry, including multinational companies such as Aurora Cannabis, to medium and small businesses, such as breweries and interior design firms.
“All levels of business have been joining the chamber, not only home-based business or small business,” says Sarah MacKenzie, president of the MHDCC. “Generally, when the economy goes down, you start to see people diversify.”
Currently, the MHDCC has 850 members and plans to grow their membership to 1,000 by 2025, which is the MHDCC’s 125th anniversary. In addition to new businesses opening their doors in Medicine Hat, membership growth is attributed to outreach and expansion of service offerings.
Chamber memberships include corporate value programs with benefits such as group insurance, advertising discounts, shopping discounts at over 100 businesses, networking events, trade shows and advocacy. In the past year, the MHDCC met with Alberta’s finance minister, labour minister and agriculture minister to advocate policies on behalf of their members.
The MHDCC operates in a two story building nestled at the corner of 4th Street SE and 6 Ave SE in downtown Medicine Hat.
Since January 2018, the organization has renovated their building to maximize its 2,916 square feet by moving all eight offices onto the second floor and turning the main level into a multi-use space. The final stages of renovations will be unveiled at an open house on June 21.
In the coming weeks, the MHDCC will host an Ag-Advocacy Seminar, Lunch & Learn workshop on addiction in the workplace and monthly networking events, including Business After 5 and Network Before 9.