Lacombe Chambers of Commerce will recieve a federal grant to help small businesses develop into a online marketplace.

The Lacombe & District Chamber of Commerce (LDCC) will receive $46,250 of federal shop local funding

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The Lacombe and District Chamber of Commerce (LDCC) will receive $46,250 of federal shop local funding to expand the chamber’s ongoing efforts to encourage patronage of community businesses.

The funding will be used to help local businesses promote their products and services in an online marketplace.

The federal funding was administered through the provinces and all chambers of commerce could apply for it.

“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, community chambers have truly been a lifeline for businesses,” said Ken Kobly, Alberta Chambers of Commerce president and CEO, in a press release.

“As we transition to reopening and recovery, we still have a long road ahead to rebuild our economy. This federal funding will help chambers do what we do best: support local job creators,” he said.

“I assembled a committee of local business leaders in the marketing and advertising space to help with the creation of our grant application and overall campaign. They have volunteered their time and expertise to support the chamber, and to help our local businesses succeed – I could not have done it without their help,” said Monica Bartman, executive director of the Lacombe chamber.

In order to help local Lacombe businesses adapt to the online marketplace forum, LDCC will provide local businesses with workshops that will take place in the fall. The goal is to provide businesses with a foundation and framework for their marketing.

“There is no denying that the convenience of buying online has changed consumer behaviour, and that’s not going away,” said Bartman.

She goes on to say that a committee of experts will offer sessions on a variety of topics that will equip Lacombe businesses with tools they need to create a solid marketing plan.

The aim is to have businesses be able to list products and services through their listing. LDCC will be providing support for businesses to get them onto the platform.

“It’s all about the marketing, and getting a critical mass. If there are enough chambers – business – products on there, more consumers will make use of the site. These things take time to build, but the end product will be well worth it,” said Bartman.

Bartman says consumers can search through an individual chamber’s business listings or they can search for a specific product or service, like ‘plumbers’ or ‘honey’ or ‘business coaching.’

“Many times, consumers begin an online search before checking out main street, and that’s O.K., but if consumers are online we want our local businesses to be found there too,” said Bartman.

“With this new platform we’re acknowledging the shift in consumer behaviour and helping businesses get in front of their customers online.”

She says local businesses do not have to be a chamber member to participate in the online marketplace or in the workshops.

LDCC aims to let the business owners understand the tool kits available to them.

Barman says that there are 122 chambers of commerce in Alberta, and there are maybe 24 on the platform so far.

“It will take a bit of time to get it ‘fully loaded’ but I’m excited to see it in action.”