2 min read October 2021 — In an interview with Invest:, President of the Nassau Chamber of Commerce, Regina Duncan, explained how the chamber is making sure its businesses continue to thrive in spite of the pandemic and what initiatives the chamber is implementing to maintain that success.
How did the Chamber navigate the pandemic and help support its members in the past year?
The Chamber worked with our local governments to allocate over $2 million in financial aid to our businesses. This aid helped them operate under unpredictable circumstances and continue routine activities such as purchasing supplies and paying employees. This helped with new safety measures. We also stepped forward to offer assistance to businesses with the Paycheck Protection Program applications and compiling information.
Within our community, we quickly found that for many people, accessing immediate help was difficult. They didn’t know where to go for services or what was out there to help them. By partnering with the Barnabas Center, the Chamber became the resource hub, providing support for the residents and to speak with someone directly for service referrals.
Communication to our business community, while always important, became vital. We quickly expanded the ways in which we were reaching them with timely, frequent, relevant local updates.
What successful strategies have you implemented to address the labor shortage?
We’ve implemented several programs, one of which is a dynamic job board which specifically lists jobs by type of work, schedule, location and benefits. It is designed with the job-seeker in mind. We also provided a resume writing service to better prepare those seeking employment and creating on-the-job training. Our partnership with the Nassau County School Board has created options for on-the-job training.
What are the major initiatives the Chamber is working on?
Complex knowledge of our community and our economy, providing problem-solving opportunities and encouraging innovation is seen as the Chamber’s responsibility.
Adding specific membership benefits remains a focus but has now increased into community-wide initiatives that include workforce services and overall economic stability programs.
Internally, we are accelerating our investment in technology at the same time helping our members seek technology which will help their businesses, innovate, thrive and grow.
What are the ways in which the Chamber is looking to manage and capitalize on new growth?
In order to capitalize on current growth, we are purposeful in programming, providing industry-specific resources and working within our community to find solutions to workforce and business challenges. As one of the fastest-growing counties in the state, we recognize our role in identifying opportunities and matching that with a plan.
Accelerating our technology investments, as a community, is critical not only for recruitment but for existing industries in increasing productivity and improving agility.
Are there any businesses or industries that you are interested in bringing to the area?
Currently, we are seeing finance, logistics and a multitude of companies interested in the area. There’s so much diversity in terms of business interest due to our location, proximity to Jacksonville and overall quality of life.
How are you ensuring revenue growth for the Chamber?
Revenue growth is essential to our ability to offer services, programs and resources. And, diversification of revenue sources is key to ensuring our viability. Through diversification, we are exploring new audiences, grant funding, contract management, affiliate marketing and leveraging our new resources to drive income.
What is your general outlook for the next three to five years?
The Chamber is focused on three areas; business services, business development and workforce projects. Initiatives include housing, childcare, on-demand employee training, expanding co-working services, innovation grants and encouraging input from the private sector for the use of Rescue funds. Going forward, we see our role as proactively collaborating with employers to help manage the changes within our local workforce and developing resources for businesses.
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