October was a very busy month at the Chamber as we celebrated Canadore College Business Week along with our counterparts across Canada.  Small to medium sized businesses (SME’s) are the backbone of not only our district, but our entire country. According to the Business Development Bank of Canada, SME’s make up almost 70% of the private sector jobs in Canada and employing almost eight million workers across Canada.  October was the month to celebrate this sector with a week-long list of workshops, networking events and mini trade show.

On the Thursday evening of Business Week, we recognized many outstanding businesses and entrepreneurs, at the Bell Evening of Excellence.  Congratulations to all the nominees and winners in the various categories.  It truly was an excellent evening and we want to thank all our sponsors, who made the evening a huge success.  During the evening awards ceremony, a new category was introduced to honour Glen DeVuono, a long-time manager of the North Bay and District Chamber of Commerce, who passed away earlier this year.

The award will be presented annually, and it will recognize individuals/businesses deemed to be “Community Builders”.  Glen was one of those people and did so in his own way, representing the members of The Chamber, for the benefit of our communities.  The inaugural award was presented to MPP Vic Fedeli, Minister of Finance for the Province of Ontario and was presented to him by Patti Carr VP Policy and Communications, here at the Chamber.  The choice of our former Mayor and present MPP for this award was what Glen would have wanted, according to Patti.  Glen and Vic became lifelong friends through their Chamber connection, with Vic serving as President of the Chamber, for many years.  Congratulations Vic, you are a true “Community Builder”.

As we are all aware, today is Election Day in Ontario and we will return to some semblance of normalcy after a lengthy campaign in most municipalities.  We are hopeful that voter numbers are high and all citizens take advantage of their right, to cast a ballot.   Congratulations to all that achieve their goal of being a municipal politician or trustee.  To those that were unsuccessful in their bid for a seat, thank you for putting your name forward.  Your work begins shortly and as a business community, we look forward to working with all of the elected officials in our district.  Working together is essential if we are to create economic growth in our area.

Peter Chirico is the President & CEO of the North Bay & District Chamber of Commerce.