2016 Chamber Year in Review

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The New Castle County Chamber of Commerce creates business development opportunities for our members, and advocates for a strong and stable economic climate.  Throughout 2016, the Chamber continued to offer a wide range of activities, opportunities and programs.  We are grateful for our loyal and active membership, and will continue to work hard during the New Year to provide the greater New Castle County area with top notch services that help our member businesses connect, save and grow.  Here is a quick review of 2016:
     The year started off with some rock n’ roll at our annual ChamberPalooza event at World Cafe Live at the Queen.  In February, we had two local cover bands performing a variety of music genres and competing to win the title of 2016 Chamber Band of the Year. All those in attendance had a chance to vote for either Country By Night or JAH People.  When the votes were counted, Country By Night was the winner!
Economic Forecast Lunch
     In February, The New Castle County Economic Development Council hosted the 9th Annual Economic Forecast Luncheon featuring Dr. Anirban Basu from Sage Policy Group.  Over 250 people eagerly listened to Dr. Basu’s recap of the economic activities of 2015 and his discussion of the potential outlook for the County’s economy in 2016. We plan to have Dr. Basu back again next year on February 9th at Chase Center on the Riverfront.
Annual Dinner
     In March, the Chamber invited members and non-members to join us at the Chase Center on the Riverfront for our 2016 Annual Dinner.  A crowd of 450 people attended the Dinner where Congressman John Carney was presented the Free Enterprise Award and Tony Allen from the Bank of America was presented the Wallace Johnson Community Service Award.
Wilmington Business Leaders Network
     The Chamber continued to coordinate the activities of the Wilmington Business Leaders Network throughout the year and advocated for policies and projects that will impact the future economic growth and revitalization of Wilmington. There was a lot activity for this group during the seven way Democratic primary for Mayor, which was won by Mike Purzycki.
Connecting with Your Next Customer
     In 2016, the Chamber continued to offer the best networking program in the area with over 6,500 people attending a wide range of networking mixers. Some of the biggest crowds in 2016 attended our seasonal “ChamberFests,” which combined a networking mixer and mini-trade show with exhibitors and vendors.  This year, the Chamber offered ten free networking events as part of each member’s dues. This provided more opportunities for our members to connect with their next customer.  
Workshops and Seminars
       The Chamber’s business education program was in full swing in 2016 with interesting and thought provoking topics. Attendees gained valuable, real-world skills that contributed to their business success.
This year, the Chamber offered a new and excited program known as Growth Wheel, which provides a custom set of tools for customer relations, operations, organization and business concepts.
Support for Start-Up Businesses
      The Chamber’s Emerging Enterprise Center (EEC) is a small business incubator program that provides affordable rental space and services to early stage companies seeking to expand and create new jobs in New Castle County. During 2016, ten companies were in residence at the EEC and employed over fifty people. The EEC also hosted the Swim with the Sharks Video Pitch Competition.Vibrating Therapeutic Apparel was the winner of a prize package valued at over $7,500 to help grow their business.
The Election
     The results of this year’s election certainly provided a number of surprises as we will see significant change at the federal, state and local levels. Donald Trump’s election as President will usher in a new “style” of governing and should result in a significant amount of debate and new policies. The Chamber is very much looking forward to working with Governor Carney, County Executive Meyer and Mayor Purzycki to improve the business climate in New Castle County. We are encouraging the State, County and City to enter into a new era of cooperation to improve economic conditions in Wilmington, which will have significant benefits for the County and State.
International Travel
    The Chamber continued its travel abroad program in 2016 with trips to Thailand and Italy. These trips are very affordable and provide our members a unique opportunity to experience other parts of the world. In the summer of 2017, the Chamber will be returning to China for the fifth time. If you are interested in taking advantage of this opportunity, visit the Chamber's event calendar.
Entrepreneurial & Business Women’s Expo
     In November, the Chamber hosted the 26th Annual Entrepreneurial & Business Women’s Expo and provided the 700
attendees an opportunity to participate in educational workshops, visit more than 120 exhibitors and network. This year’s keynote speaker was Liz Scott (Alex’s Mom) from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation and she shared a very moving and powerful story about Alex’s battle with cancer and her legacy of caring for and helping others.
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