|Friday, April 29, 2011|
|You’re Part of Something Big|
|Chamber of commerce is one of the most recognizable names around…and one of the most misunderstood. Everybody’s heard the term ‘chamber of commerce’ but when you ask people to describe what it is the answers are all over the place. So, what is a chamber of commerce and what is its role in the community? |
The short version is that we are vocal champions of the community in general and particularly business.
The concept of business people working with each other out of mutual interest goes back to the Middle Ages when merchants and traders banded together to protect their caravans from marauding bandits. The actual term ‘chamber of commerce’ came into use in Marseilles, France in the late 1500s, and the first chamber of commerce in America was established in New York City in 1768. As you know from your American history, that’s before the American Revolution. The reason I share this only mildly interesting history with you is to make this point: people in business have long seen a need to work together to improve their market and to protect and advance their interests.
Chambers are simply associations of people who have joined together voluntarily in order to accomplish things in the local market that no one of them can do alone. Chambers represent and promote positions of the business community to encourage sound government, orderly economic growth and a strong economy. An improved quality of life is the result.
A good place to learn more about the impact chambers have on their communities is this article by my friend Chris Mead of the America Chamber of Commerce Executives. It’s titled “The Other Chambers of Commerce”