What is the UBERE Program?
In 2018, the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce will be rolling out an exciting new program called UBERE.
UBERE stands for Ucluelet Business and Employment Retention and Expansion. It’s a mouthful, but what it’s focused on is keeping local businesses and employment opportunities in good shape (the Retention part), and helping businesses grow into the future (the Expansion part).
In January, we will begin a series of detailed interviews with local businesses where we aim to learn as much as possible about business challenges, growth opportunities, expansion or contraction plans, operating risks, and much more. Then as we start learning about the most important issues, we will be rolling out programs and initiatives to tackle them.
We’ll also be talking to non-profits and government agencies that are major employers or that provide important services to the community, such as seniors housing.
Meet the UBERE Program Manager
My name is Jamie Vann Struth and I will be managing the program over its first year, with the assistance of another full-time staff person at the Chamber. I will post periodic updates to the Chamber website to help keep members and the community informed about how things are progressing, what we’re learning, and what we’re doing about the top issues.
If we haven’t already met, let me introduce myself. I’m an economist and have worked as a consultant in local economic development in BC for nearly 20 years. I was the author of Ucluelet’s 2012 Economic Development Strategy, as well as the Strategy Update completed this year.
I’ve been working steadily on Vancouver Island for the last 15+ years, including as the regular consulting economist for the Island Coastal Economic Trust and for many individual communities throughout the Island. I’m really looking forward to working with the Ucluelet community through the UBERE program and I plan to be around for many Chamber events over the course of the year, so please come up and introduce yourself.
We’re also putting together an UBERE Advisory Committee of local and regional experts who will provide advice and guidance to the program. We’re seeking representation from all major sectors of the local economy and seeking people with expertise in a variety of business topics. If you’re interested, let us know!
What I like about business retention and expansion programs is they put the emphasis for economic prosperity where it belongs – in the local community. Too often communities think that growth comes from outside – from companies and investors taking notice and bringing jobs and investment with them. That can happen, but it’s a small piece of the overall picture. Most employment and income growth occurs through local companies and organizations getting stronger, by fixing their challenges, growing their customer base, and gradually increasing their local employment and investment footprint.