The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce (MCC) held its Manitoba Economic Summit and 91st Annual General Meeting on a virtual platform on Friday, May 6, kicking off the day with an inspirational fireside chat with BDC President & CEO Isabelle Hudon. Ms Hudon shared her vision for equitable leadership, and the role this unique entrepreneur-focused organization is committed to playing in diversifying and strengthening Canada’s business landscape post-pandemic.
The summit agenda also included a keynote address from Stephen Tapp, Chief Economist, Canadian Chamber of Commerce; greetings from and a Q&A with The Honourable Daniel Vandal, Minister of Northern Affairs and Minister responsible for PrairiesCan, and three thought-provoking expert panels on the topics of digital adaptation, recovery in the hard-hit tourism and hospitality sectors, and exploring solutions to current workforce challenges.
The theme of the MCCs full-day event was “the path forward,” and this guided the discussions on resilience, growth, and the importance of continuing to foster and invest in strong relationships created over the pandemic’s course of two+ years, as we chart the course for the Chamber network.
“As I assume the role of chair of the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, I want to start by acknowledging all of Manitoba – and committing to a leadership style that is inclusive, respectful, and reconciliatory,” says Michelle Kuly, incoming chair and principal, Blueprint Inc. “Over the past two years, we have learned that the future is not a straight path from the past. Our challenges are different. Our workforce is different. Our opportunities are also different. Serving members in new and responsive ways represents the best of what the Chambers can be: an organization that values our ability to embrace change. As chair, I am committed to driving this important work alongside the Chambers team, our members and partners.”
Throughout the past year, MCC and a number of partner organizations, including Manitoba Foodservices and Restaurant Association and Economic Development Winnipeg, played a critical role in delivering a number of programs made possible with funding from both the federal and provincial governments. Funds administered include:
- Dine In Restaurant Relief Fund – $8.6 million in support to 732 restaurants
- Travel Rebate Incentive Program (TRIP) – Over 24,000 Manitobans participated in TRIP in 2021, earning $2.2 million in rebates and driving an overall estimated economic impact of more than $11 million.
- Digital Manitoba Initiative – More than 2,000 Manitoba business applied for digital adaptation grants in 2 streams, and we will ultimately allocate $15 million to SMEs for technological enhancements.
- Retrain Manitoba – Almost 1,400 businesses applied for training & development grants for more than 18,000 workers, most of who were employees of SMEs, totalling $12.5 million.
- Support local campaigns – Funded by both the provincial and federal governments, practical “buy local” campaigns and initiatives directed millions of dollars into the Chamber network and local communities across the province.
- Manitoba Mineral Development Fund (MMDF) – In 2021, the fund supported 23 community development projects with $2.2 million in grants.
“The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce was proud to advocate on behalf of our members, to engage with the business community, and to deliver direct support to affected businesses at a critical time,” says Chuck Davidson, MCC president & CEO. “The funds and incentives directly supported Manitoba businesses, particularly in the hardest-hit sectors, and they have been instrumental in helping with COVID recovery efforts. In the upcoming year, our advocacy work will continue addressing the workforce and digital challenges businesses continue to face, and we will prioritize strengthening relationships throughout the network and with partner organizations.”
During the annual general meeting, the Manitoba Chambers of Commerce swore in its Board of Directors for 2022-2023:
- Chair – Michelle Kuly, Blueprint Inc.
- Past Chair – Paul Provost, 6P Marketing Inc.
- Vice Chair – Alison Kirkland, Women’s Enterprise Organizations of Canada
- Vice Chair – Colin Bartlett, Rogers Communications Canada Inc.
- Treasurer – Kevin Ploegman. Fort Group Chartered Professional Accountants
- Secretary – Peggy May, Southport Aerospace & Portage la Prairie & District Chamber of Commerce
- Legal Counsel – Nicole Smith, Pitblado Law
- Mike Boucher – Deloitte
- Stephen Chychota – Parkland Chamber of Commerce & CEM Representative
- Luis Escobar – Stantec
- James Fehr – RBC Royal Bank
- Paul Holden – Education Canada Group
- Kate Loewen – Payworks
- Karly McRae – Lakehouse & Wasagaming Chamber of Commerce
- Sachit Mehra – East India Company Pub and Eatery
- Matt Pilloud – MNP LLP
- Karin Pooley – People First HR Services
- Cathy Snelgrove – Siere & Brandon Chamber of Commerce
- Scott Sissons – KPMG LLP & The Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce
- Beverlie Stuart – Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology
About Manitoba Chambers of Commerce
The Manitoba Chambers of Commerce, established in 1931, is the umbrella organization for Manitoba’s chamber movement. With a membership comprised of 65 local chambers of commerce as well as hundreds of direct corporate members, the MCC is Manitoba’s largest business association, representing almost 10,000 businesses and community leaders across the Province. #VoiceofBusiness #PoweroftheNetwork