How is your business engaged in helping education?

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

Utah’s economic success has been attributed to a well-qualified and educated workforce. Businesses have recognized that and have been engaging for years. We want to know how yourbusiness engages.

As the Salt Lake Chamber, we have partnered with chambers of commerce and business associations from all over Utah in a movement to strengthen our economy and our business community through improving education–Prosperity 2020.

As a coalition of business people, executives and 21 chambers of commerce across the state, we believe that improving education outcomes is at the heart of our development and opportunity as a state. We believe that building and sustaining the strongest economy in the nation requires innovation, accountability, and investment in education.

Both the Salt Lake Chamber and Prosperity 2020 are interested in understanding how Utah companies are affected by education and also how business people are engaged in building the workforce of tomorrow. We invite you to take just a few minutes of your time to complete this survey: http://bit.ly/P2020Survey

Your feedback is invaluable as we will use this data to develop Chamber’s policy position and assist in the development of education policy. Thank you for helping us gain a clearer picture of the network of ties between education, the workforce and business.

Responses to the survey will help to increase understanding of these efforts to support the development of Utah’s future workforce. Survey results will allow us to share exemplary efforts with the community. We also want to feature your business in Salt Lake Chamber news outlets such as the Utah Business Report, newsletters, social media and websites.

Again, we’d like to ask you to please take this survey to help us gauge how you are or would like to be involved in education by July 23http://bit.ly/P2020Survey

The survey is also an opportunity for those who have interest in getting engaged to learn more about the opportunities to impact strategic state goals to improve education outcomes.

We’re all in for education in Utah!

Save a Drive: Cut down on driving and clear the air

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014

Clean air is something that the Salt Lake Chamber is a big supporter of. Air quality greatly affects our health, quality of life and our state’s economy. We must all do our part to ensure Utah’s air can stay clear.

One new effort by Deseret Management Corp. (DMC) this month is called “Save a Drive”, in which a  $100 winner will be picked daily from online readers who pledge to cut down on the miles they drive until the end of February. Readers of www.ksl.com and www.deseretnews.com, both part of DMC, can pledge to “Save A Drive” and will be entered in a daily drawing for $100 throughout the month of February.

“We live here and breathe the same air as our audience,” said Chris Lee, president of Deseret Digital Media, part of DMC. “Our employees and our management all feel that we should do everything we can to build awareness and encourage solutions to this problem.”

The Deseret News print edition is also embracing the initiative by including tips on how readers can improve air quality at the top of their front page on inversion days.

“We’ll also let readers know the forecast health level for the day and explain that readers can go online to make their reduced-driving pledges,” said Dave Schneider, Deseret News assistant managing editor.

“We have learned more than half of of the pollution problems are caused by tailpipes on cars,” Lee said. “By saving a drive, each of us can help improve the air quality and if each of us will do a little a little bit, that will help a lot.”

“We do a lot of awareness building through our reporting in print, radio, television and online,” Lee said. “But this campaign is solution driven. We know this won’t solve the problem, but we are trying to stir solutions from the community. The creativity of how people save the drive is up to them.”

Lee said the digital campaign is the first by the corporation to link action with a monetary reward.

To combat the inversions this year, the Salt Lake Chamber implemented an Emergency Inversion Initiative to get businesses to take their efforts to the next level. We support and applaud our members to take steps to encourage their employees as well as the public to drive less, drive smarter and also implement more clean air practices in general.

 

33 graduate from 10,000 Small Businesses, create 100+ jobs

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

Last week, the 33 small business owners graduated from Utah’s inaugural Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program cohort. The program, an overall $500 million investment, helps entrepreneurs create jobs and economic opportunity by providing them with greater access to education, financial capital and business support services.

The 33 graduates were selected out of a pool of 103 applicants to participate in the program on scholarship. Eleven sessions and more than one hundred hours of training from Salt Lake Community College (Goldman Sachs’ education partner in Utah) supported business growth by boosting operations and creating job opportunities.

“Goldman Sachs chose Salt Lake Community College because of our commitment to advance economic and workforce development,” SLCC President and CEO Dr. Cynthia Bioteau said in her Salt Lake Tribune op-ed. “The college’s first cohort of 33 companies has already created more than 80 new jobs — a remarkable accomplishment with just months of training.”

As it turns out, those numbers are actually even stronger. The business owners who participated in the 10,000 Small Businesses program created more than 100 jobs in the last five months. Those efforts boost other job creation goals including the Utah Jobs Agenda, a ten-point plan crafted by the Chamber to create 150,000 in five years, and Gov. Herbert’s plan to create 100,000 jobs in 1,000 days.

The graduates had nothing but glowing comments about the program, saying the best of the best were teaching and mentoring them, and that the resources and support they received were immensely helpful in furthering their business.

“The program helped me secure a line of credit to expand our business,” said Frank Dsouza, the owner of Seaich Corp., a Salt Lake City designer and importer of women’s accessories. He added three new employees to his business with help from 10,000 Small Businesses. “I needed financial resources, and the next thing I knew, I was in front of angel investors and bankers willing to do business with me. Growing up in India, I did not have an opportunity to further my education, so this was a dream come true,”

The businesses represented by the 10,000 Small Businesses participants covered a broad spectrum of industries, including manufacturing, transportation, design, retail, human services and more. Of the 33 businesses represented, 17 were women-owned making this the largest group of women that have participated in a single cohort since the program launched.

“Most of our large companies are not growing U.S. jobs, in fact many are doing the opposite,” wrote Jackie Zehner, CEO of Women Moving Millions, who attended the 10,000 Small Businesses graduation. “But the clouds parted on my gloomy view and the sun came out. Actually 33 suns came out. They were the smiling faces of the 33 graduates of the first cohort of the Salt Lake City 10,000 Small Business Program. In sharing their stories they gave me renewed hope that we can create jobs and grow our economy one business, one person at a time. Congratulations!”

If your business is past the start-up phase and ready to grow, now is the time to apply for the next cohort set to start this August. The application deadline is, Monday June 3. Learn more about applying at www.slcc.edu/10ksb.

Click here for the Salt Lake Tribune’s story on the 10,000 Small Businesses graduation.

Across the nation, more than 1,300 small business owners have participated in 10,000 Small Businesses program. Within six months of graduating, approximately 63 percent report increases in their revenues and 45 percent reported creating net new jobs in that same time frame.

With support of Governor Herbert, Goldman Sachs and the Goldman Sachs Foundation the program launched in Utah in July 2012. SLCC delivers the education portion of the program while capital is provided by Mountain West Small Business Finance. the State of Utah, Salt Lake Community College, Mountain West Small Business Finance, the Salt Lake Chamber, the Utah Hispanic Chamber, the Pete Suazo Business Center and the Utah Small Business Development Centers Network.

The program is currently operating in Chicago, Cleveland, Houston, Long Beach, Los Angeles, New Orleans, Philadelphia, New York and Salt Lake City and capital only states—Kentucky, Montana, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington

Love and give back to Utah nonprofits March 22

Thursday, February 7th, 2013

Nonprofit organizations have a singificant impact on our community, and next month you’ll be able to help Utah’s nonprofits continue making that difference.

On March 22, a 24-hour statewide fundraising effort called Love UT Give UT will contribute directly to nonprofit organizations and schools in Utah.

“Utahns always lead the nation for charitable giving,” explains Fraser Nelson, executive director of the Community Foundation of Utah. “The Foundation is the presenter of Love UT Give UT. This year we are launching an innovative on-line event that can help Utahns learn about and give to hundreds of nonprofit organizations and schools across the state. The Community Foundation is dedicated to bringing innovative ways to expand philanthropy in our state, and this is a program whose time has come.”

This type of virtual fundraising event has been successfully pioneered in other states, raising millions of dollars and bringing new donors to organizations, large and small, that serve their communities. Other states’ successes have been impressive: Minnesota raises more than $16 million each year, and The Park City Foundation raised $595,642 for Summit County agencies on November 16, 2012.

Love UT Give UT’s vision is that every citizen contribute to the organization of their choice. They have four simple goals:

   - Grow philanthropy: Create a fun and engaging way for all Utahns to learn about critical issues impacting our state and inspire them to give.
   - Grow revenue: Bring new donors to the organizations that make our state and its future strong.
   - Grow capacity: Build a permanent online giving platform so that all charities – no matter where they are, who they serve, or how big their budget can access online giving, now and for years to come.
   - Grow community: Love UT Give UT is a day for Utahns of all backgrounds and beliefs to come together to raise as much money for nonprofit organizations and schools as possible.

The Salt Lake Chamber and its strategic partner Downtown Alliance would like to recognize a handful of 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations participating in this year’s Love UT Give UT day of giving:

   - Women’s Business Center: Provides young entrepreneurs, young professionals and small business owners the critical skills, knowledge, tools and support necessary to increase their success and strengthen the economy.
   - Prosperity 2020: The state’s largest business-led movement to improve innovation, investment and accounability in education.
   - SLC Bike Share: Utah’s first solar powered bike share program in our capital city. It will be the first of its kind on the West Coast and will launch Spring 2013.
   - Downtown SLC Presents: The mastermind behind popular community events downtown, such as the SLC Farmers Market and EVE, the city’s three-day New Year’s celebration.

To learn more about the Love UT Give UT event and cause, CLICK HERE.

The Benefits to Being a Chamber Member

Thursday, January 31st, 2013

Being an active member of a chamber of commerce is good business strategy. That’s the consensus of a recently released national survey over 2,000 adults done by The Schapiro Group.

Why is it a good business practice? In short, it’s a matter of consumer perception.

Knowing if a company is a chamber member has the biggest positive effect from consumers. The Schapiro Group says “The key factor in developing and maintaining positive consumer perception of chamber members is that positive outcomes only occur when consumers know that a business is a chamber member (i.e., being involved in the chamber is a known facet of the company’s reputation).”

Two-thirds of consumers believe that if a company associates with a chamber of commerce, then they are more likely to be reputable, care about their customers, use good business practices and are involved in the community. Consumers were 49 percent more likely to think favorably towards businesses that are chamber members. They are also 80 percent more likely to purchase goods or services from chamber members in the future.

The numbers from the survey show some difference between industries. However, the numbers show that consumers are more likely to:

-  have a favorable opinion of a chamber member
-  consider purchasing goods or services from a chamber member
-  purchase goods or services from a chamber member in the coming months

At the Salt Lake Chamber, a majority of our members are small businesses, and that’s a commonality around most chambers of commerce. The Schapiro survey showed that chamber membership has “consistent and powerful benefits” for small business members–that is if the consumers know that the business is involved with the local chamber. The benefits extend to large businesses as well.

Being a Chamber member allows businesses a chance to network with each other, gain incredible relationships, learn valuable business skills, participate in community events and so much more.

Has your business joined the Salt Lake Chamber yet? If not, CLICK HERE for more details on member benefits. Become a Chamber member today!

If you are a Chamber member, do you make it publicly known that your business is a member? And do you find it makes a difference to your business? 

 

From Our Board: Social Media in Higher Education

Wednesday, October 31st, 2012

Staying technologically up-to-date continues to be a priority for Salt Lake Community College. Recently named one of the top ten colleges at using technology in the country by the Center of Digital Education, SLCC leads with and for our students in this technological age. With degrees and certificates in the digital arts, along with being one of the first colleges in the nation to have a comprehensive Center for Innovation, we are embracing social media in new ways.

The College’s administration, faculty and staff are keenly aware of the power of using social media today. Adding a full-time Social Media Coordinator to our Institutional Marketing department has allowed us to create policy and coordinate, facilitate and grow our social media engagement. With previous experience in higher education digital marketing and public relations, our coordinator has developed a comprehensive social media strategy for the College. The goals for social media at the College are:

-       Engagement: We have created a branded social media presence on all of the social media outlets where students, staff, faculty, alumni, and the entire College community can exchange ideas, friendships, events, news, announcements, College related information and questions, and have a forum for academic discussion.

-       Visibility: We use social media as opportunities to share good news about the College. We also participate in higher education discussions online with partners, sister institutions, state and national level representatives, and other organizations.

-       Awareness: We maintain relationships with the students, faculty, staff, and the entire College community to communicate important news, updates, and announcements. This lets us make our varied audiences aware of the happenings at the College.

Keeping these three goals in mind, we worked to develop and execute a strategy that would best fit our audience(s) and the College. Social media in higher education function much differently than in the business sector. However, these are also great general goals, rules and guidelines for creating a strategy for social media if you aren’t in higher education.

We have found that students use social media for social purposes, to talk to friends, and as a break from studying. We have also discovered students don’t want to be continually pushed to “read this” “click here” “come to this” “make sure you visit this” while they are on social media channels to socialize.

Thus, rather than continually pushing “promotional” items on our social media channels, we make sure that most of the content we post is what we call “selfless”. These selfless posts don’t promote the College directly, but rather give our ‘fans’ an opportunity to participate in a conversation and talk—exactly the reason they are logged into the social media channel. Some of our most successful “selfless” posts have asked students about their dream job, their favorite instructor, their favorite campus study spot, one even inquired how they spend rainy days. These posts always lead to conversations about the College, and the experiences students have at Salt Lake Community College.

We have also been careful to make sure we’re optimizing our audience exposure on social media channels. Research has shown, that 65 percent of Facebook users like only five pages or less. With this data, rather than spreading our College social media presence over multiple decentralized pages, we have eliminated historically unsuccessful pages and pushed our audience to a few key pages and social media accounts to reach the maximum College audience.

Understanding the importance of maintaining a solid social media presence, I have created my own Twitter account (@SLCCPresBioteau). I use this medium to announce important news, to keep up with colleagues, other presidents and administrators, and most importantly my students. I wholeheartedly encourage students, staff, and faculty to contact me.

Many describe people from Generations X, Y and Millennials as ‘terrible communicators’ and lament the problems that arise because they’re too connected. Yet I find that these traits can be positive and useful. Social media are wonderful and powerful tools in our new world and people—especially those from younger generations—are using them to do things that have never been done before. Social media bring students from around the world together, allow Colleges to connect with students and staff, and create an environment where ideas and experiences can be shared.

I encourage you to follow us online:

Twitter: @SaltLakeCC or @SLCCPresBioteau
Facebook: www.facebook.com/saltlakecommunitycollege
YouTube: www.youtube.com/SLCCTV
Blog: saltlakecommunitycollege.blogspot.com 

 

 

This guest blog was written by Dr. Cynthia Bioteau, president of Salt Lake Community College, as a part of the From Our Board guest blog series. President Bioteau is a member of the Chamber’s board of governors. 

3 Strategies for Social Media Engagement

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Have you ever received a message from a brand in response to something you posted online? Would that make you want to support the brand more in the future?

I had dinner in San Francisco recently during a business trip at a favorite Italian place of mine called The Stinking Rose. I was happy to be there with my wife. We arrived and were seated within a few minutes. While we waited, I checked-in on Foursquare and posted the check-in on Twitter with a personal note about how much I loved the place.

By the time we left the restaurant, I had received a note on Twitter from The Stinking Rose (@TheStinkingRose, to be precise) thanking me for checking in and asking me to share my experience. I replied with my appreciation for a good meal and they replied again, welcoming additional feedback on Yelp and Google+.

I share this experience to illustrate three simple points:

1. Listening is the most important thing you should do with social media. Businesses, organizations and individuals can use social media tools to increase their awareness of what people are saying about them, and reach out where appropriate.

2. Engaging means a lot more than publishing. It’s important to share news and information and link to it on various social media channels. This approach certainly helps optimize your content for search placement. It’s even more important to respond to others and participate with them in the online conversation. Note the use of the word participate: it’s altogether different from the idea of controlling the conversation.

3. Linking activity on various platforms, like Foursquare, Twitter, Yelp and Google+, deliver the most bang for the buck. Chances are, if your audience is using a social platform, you’ll find them on a handful of different platforms. Ask for feedback and find out how your audience wants to hear from you, then oblige them.

Never before have corporate communicators had so many tools with which to foster conversations. You may choose to ignore the tools, but doing so will increasingly place you at a competitive disadvantage.

Top photo from webtreats.mysitemyway.com

 

 

This guest blog post was written by Pete Codella, APR, vice president of marketing and public relations for Alexander’sJeff Alexander is a member of the Chamber’s board.

9 steps to an effective online corporate newsroom

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Click here to see the full Shift Communications online newsroom template

Have you considered how technology today provides mechanisms for business to communicate directly with constituents? We’ve witnessed a shift from mass communication and broad advertising to targeted communication with specific key audiences.

Since I’ve worked in public relations since the mid-90s and I enjoy new technology as much as the next guy, it has been natural, even exciting, for me to concentrate on the various aspects of business communication through social media.

I’m surprised that more companies haven’t taken advantage of at least one aspect of this digital communication revolution — the ability to tell their own story using an effective online newsroom.

Companies aren’t really tied to traditional media anymore. They have nearly as many tools as broadcasters and publishers do, and they’re affordable.

A social media equipped newsroom should be considered ground zero for publishing news and information about your organization on the Web. Of all the information shared about you online, your own press room should lead the way in delivering timely, factual updates with supporting resources.

Here are the 9 things an effective online newsroom should do for your business:

1. Clearly identify media spokespeople and provide mechanisms through which they can be contacted right away. Help the journalist reach a real person quickly.

2. Provide an online searchable archive of all news and information about your company. If you use Google’s custom site search, you’ll do yourself a favor by making your content that more familiar to Google search.

3. Maximize your online search placement. A newsroom as a subdomain or standalone website will help you maximize the number of search results for your primary keywords.

4. Allow site visitors to subscribe to receive your updates in a way most preferred by them — email, RSS Reader, text message, etc.

5. Introduce the public to your key executives through engaging biographies, photos and links to their online work, like a blog, video channel or social networking profile.

6. Display beautiful press kits in HTML and PDF versions — your own digital brochures, so to speak.

7. Tell your own story using multimedia — documents, images, logos, video and audio files. You could use your resources to host an Internet-based news broadcast on your company or the industry in which you work.

8. Make your news content snackable and sharable — bite-sized content pieces that visitors can pass along to their friends. When they share, you benefit from distributed content, increased awareness and a greater presence online and in the real world.

9. Establish your company as the best source of news and information both for you and the industry. Become the benchmark example for excellence in timely, accurate and helpful news and information.

Of course, if you don’t have a newsroom like this, Alexander’s can help. We’ll see you online.

 

 

This guest blog post was written by Pete Codella, APR, vice president of marketing and public relations for Alexander’s. Jeff Alexander is a member of the Chamber’s board.

Economic Impact of Rivalry Week

Thursday, September 13th, 2012

By Natalie Gochnour

I’ve been asked several times this week about the economic impact of the big game on Saturday between the Utes and the Cougars. The crowds, the banter and the media coverage catch people’s attention. Many people’s thoughts turn to the economy.

The truth is that in-state games represent a smaller immediate economic impact than games with an out-of-state foe. Here’s why:

In-state games peg one part of the state against another. Very little new money crosses Utah borders. Instead, money is redistributed from one locale to another.

Since the game is in Salt Lake City this year, Utah’s capital city will benefit. Restaurants will feel the bump. Next year, a similar effect will be felt in Provo.

Statewide, however, this type of economic redistribution is simply a stirring of the pot. The economy doesn’t get any larger. Sorry to mix metaphors, but the pie just gets sliced up in a different way.

In contrast, when USC comes to Salt Lake City on Oct. 4, a cadre of Trojan fans will come to the state. A similar event will transpire when Oregon State comes to Provo on Oct. 13. Visiting fans will buy seats on airplanes, purchase gas, dine out, stay in local hotels, and maybe even check out an art gallery or museum. As they bring new money into the state, Utah’s economy enlarges.

While the BYU-Utah game does not create a sizable short-term economic benefit, it does create economic value for the state over the long run. ESPN2’s prime time coverage puts a focus on the Beehive State. BYU’s large national following and Utah’s PAC12 credentials draws a crowd. If Saturday’s prime-time telecast attracts anything close to last week’s games, as many as 4 million viewers in 2.8 million households around the country will see Utah’s extraordinary Wasatch Mountains, our phenomenal downtown, and, best of all, the University of Utah’s large student section THE MUSS. I feel confident people will like what they see.

This exposure will pay long-term economic dividends to the place we call home.

Chamber accepts Clear the Air Challenge

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

2011 Clear the Air Challenge from Salt Lake Chamber on Vimeo.

Air Quality is one of the top policy issues of the Salt Lake Chamber and this summer we are proud to lead the business community’s participation in the Clear the Air Challenge.

Last year, the Challenge resulted in over 1.3 million miles saved and a whopping 59,485 gallons of gas saved. In this the third year of the challenge, the bar has been raised again. The community has been challenged to:

- Eliminate 300,000 single-occupant vehicle trips
- Avert 2 million miles
- Reduce 3.4 million pounds of emissions

We sat down with Kate Lilja, sustainability special programs manager with Salt Lake City, who runs the Clear the Air Challenge. We discuss the goals of the challenge, ways to reduce our emissions and, of course, the prizes.

The Clear the Air Challenge runs from June 13th to July 10th. You can register online at www.cleartheairchallenge.org.