What is the UBERE Program?
In 2018, the Ucluelet Chamber of Commerce launched the year-long UBERE project. The program concluded in early 2019.
UBERE stands for Ucluelet Business and Employment Retention and Expansion. It focused on keeping local businesses and employment opportunities in good shape (the Retention part), and helping businesses grow into the future (the Expansion part).
In January 2018, a series of detailed interviews were conducted with local businesses to learn as much as possible about business challenges, growth opportunities, expansion or contraction plans, operating risks, and much more. As we learnt about the most important issues, we began rolling out programs and initiatives to tackle them.
We also talked to non-profits and government agencies that are major employers or that provide important services to the community, such as seniors housing.
To view an archive of UBERE updates from throughout the year, click here.
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.
After all, nobody is more committed to Ucluelet’s economic future than the companies and people that are already committed to Ucluelet.
Meet the UBERE Facilitator
Hi, my name is Joseph Rotenberg, and I’m a facilitator with the UBERE project. My role at UBERE includes interviewing business representatives, researching programs and resources that could be brought to Ucluelet, and overseeing local program delivery.
My wife and I moved to Ucluelet about a year and a half ago. We love this community, and we are committed to its economic success! That's why I'm so excited about working with the Chamber of Commerce to support local businesses.
I started at the UBERE program in January 2018. Since then, I’ve had the opportunity to interview dozens of business representatives and respond to their needs. I would like to thank those business owners and managers for their input and their time.
Over the project duration, I hope to complete as many interviews as possible. Your input is crucial in making sure we understand business challenges and can respond in the most effective way.