A chamber of commerce is a member-based organization geared toward supporting local businesses and organizations in various ways, including promoting economic growth and positive business conditions, marketing, research, training, business exploration and development, facilitating commercial development and providing contacts and networking opportunities.

One of the most important vehicles to get all of this done is partnering.

When there was a problem with highway signs, the Whitehorse Chamber partnered with the Department of Highways and Public Works to create the Urban Visitor Sign Program.

When businesses complained to the Chamber of increases in vandalism, theft and graffiti, the Chamber partnered with the Department of Justice to create a Crime Prevention Strategy.

The Chamber partners with the City of Whitehorse and the Challenge Community Vocational Alternatives Program to beautify the downtown during the summer with our Planter Box Program.

And last year we worked with our partners in the Department of Economic Development, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada and the Business Community to develop “Partnering for Success” – what could be more appropriate?

Partnering for Success is a business and industry-driven initiative led by the Whitehorse Chamber of Commerce to move the economy forward through orchestrated dialogue and strengthened partnerships between business and all levels of government.

The primary goal is to foster ongoing, proactive and solution-oriented communication and solicit business-driven feedback and recommendations.

These recommendations identify common economic challenges and opportunities and illuminate policies, programs, regulations and initiatives that are either benefiting or hindering economic growth in the territory.

Partnering for Success creates the ongoing dialogue and channels the information from the private sector that governments can use to create and sustain economic growth across all sectors to the benefit of all Yukon residents.

Is partnering important to the Yukon? Absolutely!

What Government can’t accomplish alone is achieved through Public / Private Sector Partnerships.

Large Yukon projects beyond the scope of local contractors have been successful because of the partnerships that have been formed with larger firms from the south. Projects such as our new hospital, Canada Games Centre and Copper Ridge Place have seen local companies benefit from partnering with larger southern firms.¬

The process of creating a partnership forces the participants to dialogue – to learn about each other. Partnerships become greater than the individual parts that make up the partnership and allow much more to be accomplished.

Through this process of partnering, the Chamber has taken on a new role as a facilitator — a vehicle to make things happen – and organizing and managing partnerships to get results that benefit Whitehorse and the Yukon have become a guiding principle at the Chamber.

The Business Development Program, with partners such as the Department of Economic Development, Indian and Northern Affairs Canada, the Yukon Technology Innovation Centre and the Department of Tourism and Culture, has helped many businesses grow their operations, increase their sales and contribute more to our economy.

This program relies heavily on what we call a Business Advisory Board – a group of experts coming together from across the country partnering to advise local businesses on how to improve and develop their operations.

We have learned that we can accomplish so much more by developing partnerships. It is rewarding, keeps you renewed and on edge … and busy.