UBERE Updates

April 2018 Update ~ Chamber Chat #4

In this month’s update on the UBERE program from the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce, I can report that we have now completed detailed interviews with more than 50 local companies! Our first major reporting of the results will come later this month, at the regular District of Ucluelet Council meeting on April 24th.

The interviews will be continuing for the rest of the year, although the pace will slow over the summer. Joseph Rotenberg is our local facilitator conducting the interviews and if you would like to participate, please contact him through the Chamber office.

We have also started a series of educational events to help address some of the business challenges we’ve been hearing about. Local expert Trevor Jurgens is leading a series of three upcoming workshops on online marketing – the first one is April 19th, called “Crushing it with customer reviews and ratings.”

Continuing my discussion last month on what the economic data says about Ucluelet, I have recently acquired a custom set of detailed employment data from the 2016 Census. It shows the industries ad occupations with the most jobs that are physically based in Ucluelet, at least as of May 2016 (so not including the summer peak).

The single largest employment sector in Ucluelet is accommodation and food services, with 315 of the 1,055 total jobs. This sector is over three times as concentrated in Ucluelet as the BC economy overall, which is not surprising given the importance of tourism in the local economy.

The 2nd largest employment sector might be more surprising. Manufacturing ranks 2nd with 180 local jobs, about 85% of which are in fish processing. Relatively speaking, Ucluelet is a manufacturing hotbed, with a local concentration of employment that is 2.5 times higher than the provincial average. The “seafood preparation and packaging” industry within the manufacturing sector is about 100 times as concentrated locally, while fishing jobs are 37 times the BC average. Right here is evidence of the “twin pillars” of Ucluelet’s economy – tourism and harbour-related industries.

What other industries have a high concentration of employment in Ucluelet compared to BC? Traveller accommodation is more than 11 times as concentrated in Ucluelet as BC, but full-service restaurants are only 1.5 times the BC average. These figures should be more balanced so all visitors can find somewhere to eat! Various forestry-related industries show up on the list, along with arts, entertainment and recreation. This includes everything from venues like the Aquarium to independent artists, writers and performers. Within the public sector, there is a high concentration of jobs in aboriginal public administration – perhaps not surprising given the two local First Nations with offices in town. Education services are higher than average, but health care services very low on a local employment basis.

March 2018 Update ~ Chamber Chat #3

The Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce’s UBERE program is in full swing!

We’ve now completed close to 30 interviews with local employers, which last anywhere from 45 minutes to 2+ hours (depending on the size of the business and how much the employer wants to talk).

While we wait for the results, it’s useful to step back and examine the latest statistics to see what they tell us about key local issues. Ucluelet is officially designated a “resort municipality” by the provincial government, one of 14 in BC. I focused on the 10 smallest resort municipalities by permanent population as a good comparison group for local trends. Ucluelet is the 4th-smallest with about 1,700 permanent residents (as of the 2016 Census) and the others, from largest to smallest, are Fernie, Osoyoos, Rossland, Golden, Invermere, Tofino, Valemount, Radium Hot Springs, and Sun Peaks Mountain.

The first point is that being a resort municipality is a good thing! The 10 small resort communities had combined population growth of 8.1% from 2011 to 2016. Small rural communities that are not resorts lost population in this period. Ucluelet’s growth of 5.5% ranked 4th among the resort communities, by the way, nearly double Tofino at 3.0%.

Resort communities are growing because they are great places to live and they provide local employment opportunities. But we want good quality, well-paying jobs, not just any jobs. Ucluelet’s median employment income of $27,400 ranks 7th among the resort communities. From 2005 to 2015, the change in median employment income in Ucluelet was 15%, less than any other community.

Which leads us to housing. A standard measure of affordable housing is spending 30% or less of income on shelter. The last Census showed that 32% of Ucluelet’s permanent residents were spending more than this, which is 2nd highest among the small resort communities. Low incomes and high housing costs are clearly a challenge for affordability.

Looking at building permit values in the last couple of years, Ucluelet had a big jump in activity in 2017. Total permit values were $5.6 million, the highest level in 8 years and up more than 150% from the previous year. What is notable in Ucluelet is that almost all new development is residential. For 2016 and 2017 combined, 94% of the permit values are for residential projects, which is easily the highest among the small resort communities (Tofino is around 60% residential). More housing is clearly a need, but as we’ve been exploring in our interviews, having more good-quality jobs requires the commercial and industrial space to put them, and new development in these areas has been minimal in the last couple of years.

These statistics are meant to complement the insights we’re getting from local employers and give us a deeper understanding of local trends and whether they are unique to Ucluelet. Next month, I’ll take a closer look at the breakdown of local employment by industry, including much more than tourism!

Online Marketing 201

The UBERE program, in partnership with the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce, presents Online Marketing 201. This three part series introduces techniques that will help you:

  • manage online reviews about your company
  • maximize your Facebook and Instagram presence
  • evaluate the effectiveness of your online campaign

Join the UBERE team at the Ucluelet Community Centre for these free 1.5-hour workshops led by Trevor Jurgens from COFFEE Business Stimulus. Trevor is a digital strategist and social media marketer with over a decade of experience. For more information about Trevor visit his website at TrevorJurgens.com

Keen to start transforming your business now? Trevor and UBERE encourage you to complete this free ThinkSheet from COFFEE Business Stimulus that will lead you to discovering what makes your business unique and what messages will make your marketing more effective. Think now! Profit faster!

Workshop 1: Crushing it with customer reviews and ratings

Date:    Thursday 19 April 2018
Time:    6:00-7:30 P.M.
Venue:  Ucluelet Community Centre
Cost:     Free, snacks provided
Bring:    Your laptop

Online reviews can make or break a business. Sometimes they’re positive and sometimes they're not.

This 1.5-hour workshop will show you how to:

  • harness online reviews and ratings to market your business
  • find, manage and solicit feedback from your customers
  • make lemonade out of even the sourest reviews and make even the sweetest review even sweeter

Workshop 2: Make a friend - Instagram and Facebook marketing

Date:    Tuesday 01 May 2018
Time:    12:00-1:30 P.M.
Venue:  Ucluelet Community Centre
Cost:     Free, snacks provided
Bring:    Your laptop

Social media can be a cost and time efficient means of marketing your business, or it can be an endless black hole that consumes your spare time.

This 1.5-hour workshop will show you how to:

  • efficiently market your business on Facebook and Instagram
  • make your social media content and campaigns work for you
  • reach new clients by using paid campaigns
  • use AdManager to evaluate and guide your social media marketing strategy

Workshop 3: Decoding your digital agencies - how to evaluate and manage your contractors

Date:    Wednesday 16 May 2018
Time:    12:00-1:30 P.M.
Venue:  Ucluelet Community Centre
Cost:     Free, snacks provided
Bring:    Your laptop

Do you outsource your company's social media or digital marketing campaigns?
Is it working? Is it worth it?
It's tough to answer these questions unless you know what questions to ask, and know how to interpret the answers.

This 1.5-hour workshop will introduce the:

  • terminology
  • metrics that you need to assess your online campaign

For more information on any of our Online Marketing 201 workshops, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. on the UBERE team.

Business Acceleration Workshop

Date:    Monday 12 March 2018
Time:    12:00-1:30 P.M.
Venue:  Ucluelet Community Centre
Cost:     Free, snacks provided

To Register:  email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call the Chamber of Commerce office at (250) 726-4641

The Business Acceleration Workshop will show you how to increase customer referrals and retention by using simple tools to implement a relationship marketing strategy.

Jennie Potter will lead the Workshop. She and her husband used these tools to grow their tree service business rapidly. Jennie is also an Executive at SendOutCards and is excited to show you how simple acts of gratitude can kickstart your business.

For more information about Jenny Potter, visit her website at jenniepotter.com

Stress Management Workshop

Date:    Thursday 01 March 2018
Time:    12:00-1:30 P.M.
Venue:  Ucluelet Community Centre
Cost:     Free, snacks provided

Business managers have reported that employee stress associated with the increased demands of the high season is a problem.

In response, UBERE in association with the Chamber of Commerce presents a 1.5-hour stress management workshop led by D.R. Fiona Smulders N.D. at the Ucluelet Community Centre on March 1, 2018, at 12:00 P.M.

The workshop will explain what stress is and how it affects health and wellbeing. It will also provide tools and techniques for stress management.

For more information about D.R. Fiona Smulders N.D. consult her website at drsmulders.com

February 2018 Update ~ The Chamber’s UBERE program is underway!

After a few weeks of getting set up, we launched our detailed interviews with local employers in late January, focusing on many different aspects of running a business or non-profit in Ucluelet.

During the first week I worked with the Chamber’s new program facilitator, Joseph Rotenberg, and together we interviewed 10 employers. Ranging from about 45 minutes to nearly 2 hours in length, we discussed employer satisfaction and issues with their current facility, their technology and equipment, and of course, their current and potential employees.

We asked about how quickly the companies are growing, how much they expect to grow in the future, and whether the highway closures in the next two years are likely to impact them. We asked about their satisfaction with various public services, with the business climate in Ucluelet, and their own expertise and comfort in different aspects of management.

Even at this early point in the program, we’re seeing some common results. One is the strong interest in more local training opportunities, including training for the managers themselves and for their staff. There is also clear interest in employers getting to know each other in a more social setting, perhaps with some learning mixed in.

In response, we’re already moving ahead with creating new programs. This includes hosting seminars and workshops that combine education, fun, and networking. There are also many training resources that are already available that we will highlight to help local employers find and participate in the skill development that they need.

Another example of our initial work is making employers aware of the full range of workforce assistance programs that provide a financial incentive to create jobs for youth or the unemployed, or to provide training to apprentices and other existing staff.

As we get more responses in the months ahead, I look forward to sharing some of the more specific results with the community. One of the most important outcomes of this project is the ability to report to local and senior governments about the most important issues facing local businesses and other employers. For example, if there is a particular regulation or policy that is causing a problem, we can provide input that is not based on anecdotes from a handful of companies, but on the power of dozens and dozens of detailed accounts from local employers.

If you would like more information or would like to participate in the study, please contact me (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Joseph (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.). And stay tuned to the Chamber website, Facebook page and newsletter for the details of the upcoming programs and events.