SMALL BUSINESS WEEK - October 20 to 24

Small Business Week

October is Small Business Month in British Columbia (BC) – our chance to recognize the tremendous contributions made by small businesses.  Small businesses are the heart and soul of communities.  They support families and keep local economies strong.  The owners are parents, coaches, entrepreneurs and volunteers who make a difference every day.

Across BC, 98 percent of businesses are small businesses, employing more than a million British Columbians.  Businesses are the engine of our economy and I am proud to be celebrating the 8thAnnual Small Business Month at exciting events throughout the province.

On behalf of the Government of British Columbia, I am pleased to provide you with the following link to the new Small Business Profile 2014:  A Profile of Small Business in British Columbia

Small Business Profile 2014 was compiled and analyzed by BC Stats, using data from Statistics Canada.  It examines key economic trends, and highlights the power of the small business sector to create jobs for British Columbia families, and drive the economy of the Province.

To continue encouraging small business growth and opportunities, we will keep celebrating the talents and successes of small business entrepreneurs through October and beyond.

We invite you to explore Small Business Profile 2014 to witness the entrepreneurial spirit of British Columbians and learn about the tremendous contributions that small businesses make every day in British Columbia.  

Written by By Naomi Yamamoto, Minister of State for Tourism and Small Business

Better Buy Sooke

In support of Small Business Week, the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce urges residents to watch for and support those Chamber member businesses with the ‘Better Buy Sooke’ decal displayed.

In an effort to support its business members to share the shop local philosophy to residents, the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce has launched its ‘Better Buy Sooke’ campaign.

Members are encouraged to use the Better Buy Sooke logo on all their publications and business cards to inform the public they are 'shop local' supporters. For a quality logo in .png or .jpg format with or without text, please contact the Chamber office.

Most people understand the basic philosophy that if you spend your money in the community you live in, then that money will help your local merchants thrive and survive.  These same merchants reinvest back into the community by offering more products and services, hire more local staff, buy more local inventory, possibly expand their businesses, and pay more in commercial taxes, which helps to build community infrastructure and amenities for its residents.  This circle of economic development activity is called ‘shopping local’.

It is a simple matter of consciously changing spending patterns to sustain the economic health of our community, and the Chamber is pleased to provide this important marketing piece exclusively for our Chamber members.

Please feel free to contact the Chamber office with any questions you may have regarding this value-added benefit of your Chamber membership.


Telephone:  250-642-1842  Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Topos Landscaping Company-about

Telephone:  250-474-5145   Email:  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Alpine Group

Telephone: 250-642-6661 or Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Paul E Unwin Artist Craftsman-aboutPaul E Unwin-Chamber Lobby
A sample (shown) of Paul Unwin's work is displayed in the lobby at 2015 Shields Road.


Immigrant Tutorials Logo

A series of free online tutorials have been developed to help small to medium-sized businesses struggling to fill job vacancies attract and hire skilled immigrants who are living in B.C

Every year, BC attracts close to 10,000 highly skilled immigrants with the skills and experience needed for BC's workplaces. Tapping into this talent pool will provide Chamber of Commerce members with the competitive advantage needed to compete in today's global marketplace.

The five tutorials developed by the Immigrant Employment Council of BC (IEC-BC) and the Human Resources Management Association (HRMA) will assist employers with attracting these skilled workers.

The tutorials feature industry-tested tools, practical tips, videos and resources. Tutorial topics range from how to attract and hire new Canadians, to how to assess language proficiency, foreign experience and academic and professional credentials. Viewers will learn how to create barrier-free job descriptions and define roles using key knowledge, skills and abilities. Tips on where to advertise job openings as well as a list of programs and services that connect employers with qualified immigrant candidates are also featured.

The new immigrant talent tutorials are featured on HRMA's new Professional Development on-demand web portal at and can also be accessed through a link on the IEC-BC website at


A new communications and marketing toolkit is available for Sooke’s small businesses and volunteer organizations. There is no cost to use and information is tailored to the needs of local organizations. 

What can you find there? Here's a sample: Steps to take and a template for news releases that get noticed and covered, how to get people to take action and when it pays to invest in professional advice. New information will be added on a regular basis. 

The toolkit can be found at It was inspired by all the great stories that can be told about our local community. It contains tools, templates and information to help with communications, publicity and marketing for local businesses and groups to tell their story and promote events and services. It’s easy to keep in touch with updates through Facebook or Twitter (follow Saseenos Communications) or by checking back to the site. 

The toolkit was created by Doni Eve who has provided volunteer communications for many Sooke-area organizations for more than 20 years. Her goal is to make the tools and information accessible to all local organizations who may not have their own internal communications or marketing expertise or the capacity to pay a lot for communications or marketing services. 

Think of it as a do it yourself communications and promotion kit. It’s all free and can be used by Sooke small and home-based business, non-profits and artists. 

Doni is interested in hearing input about what to include to make the site useful for you. Having the toolkit as an open, web-based platform allows others to add ideas and contribute so her hope is that others will share their expertise as well. 

On a final note, this is not a commercial site where you can contract communications or marketing services. If you are looking for paid services, Saseenos Communications would be happy to offer tips on what to look for and how to recruit. Saseenos Communications is solely a volunteer service to the Sooke and region community.

Doni’s and Saseenos Communications’ background include a Bachelor of Journalism (Hon) degree from Carleton University; Graduate Professional Certificate in Public Sector and Non-profit Marketing from Sprott School of Business; Marketing Your Small Business from West Shore Learning Centre; 30+ years of professional and volunteer work in reporting, editing, communications, promotion and social marketing.

For more information:

BUSINESS TIPS, by Ken Stratford

Ken Stratford

This new series of business tips is brought to you by Ken Stratford, the Sooke Chamber’s strategic advisor. Ken’s organization mentors and advises over 150 small business owners every year in all aspects of commerce, including business planning, marketing and growth.


How would you score your relationship with your bank? 
If it’s below 5 out of 10, you should lay some of that responsibility at your bank’s door. More businesses should actively challenge their banks. Share your medium-term plans with your bank manager or the bank’s business manager, whether you are looking to expand, invest or sell, and ask them, “How do I best structure my relationship with you to realize these plans?”

A good banker should be highly interested in your aspirations and embrace this challenge. They might recommend you structure your accounts differently; you might save differently or invest differently. They might look at some of the sensitivities around your cash flow projections and interest rate assumptions. They should understand the fundamental pressures and requirements of your particular sector. They might even challenge you back as to how you are going to meet your growth projections. They don’t get nearly enough customers actively challenging them. Don’t just assume that it doesn’t make a difference.

In building good banker relationships, Sooke based businesses already have an advantage that comes from our suburban location. The simple truth is that it is easier to build an understanding between you and your banker in a small branch rather than a big city one. In a community like Sooke, you get to know not only the person out front (sometimes referred to as a Teller, they are now called CSR’s or Customer Service Representatives) but you can also get to know the manager and more importantly he or she can get to know you and your business. Don’t be shy about inviting them for coffee or better yet, inviting them to come to your place of business, particularly if you have a special occasion such as an anniversary or a store expansion.  Today’s bank manager wants to know more about bank customers and you can benefit from that interest.

Make sure you go in prepared with a list of all assets, liabilities and possible upcoming expenditures. Think of your banker as a part of your advisory team. It will pay off.

If you’re just starting out in business, make sure you have a paper-based business plan before you approach the bank. The fact that you walk in with a well-designed plan impresses the bank since it shows you are serious about your new venture.


SNM Thank you ad - 2014 Golf Tournament

The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce wishes to express gratitude to all who participated in the Chamber's Annual Golf Tournament & Dinner, contributing to the grand success of our Fundraising Event.  
Sooke's business people sure know how to put the FUN in Fundraiser! PHOTO GALLERY ~ For a full list of contributors, visit our website.


Communities in Bloom-logo

The District of Sooke has, for the third year, received the top 5-bloom rating from the Communities in Bloom judges!  To view the report, click here.

The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce recognizes the tremendous value and importance in capitalizing on the momentum the Communities in Bloom program has gained in Sooke over the past number of years, and strongly recommends the continued financial support of the Communities in Bloom program by both the District of Sooke and the Mayor’s Advisory Panel on Arts and Beautification.

There are numerous economic and social benefits to maintaining the Communities in Bloom program:

  • Economic benefits
  • Increased exposure and recognition to Sooke that fosters current and future economic development
  • Tremendous nation-wide marketing and promotional opportunities
  • Positive benefits for the tourism, hospitality and retail industries in Sooke
  • Information exchange for professional development for Sooke’s agriculture and horticulture sector
  • Valuable feedback and benchmarks from judging for future community deliverables
  • Town beautification leads to higher property values and increased tax base for District of Sooke
  • Social benefits
  • Increased civic pride and community involvement
  • Decreased vandalism
  • Participation from all ages and walks of life in our community
  • Year-round projects and continuous improvement for the entire community
  • Cultural exchange within the community and with neighboring, national and international communities
  • Improved quality of life in Sooke
  • Large scale environmental stewardship that entire community can participate in

Sooke region businesses have expressed this program is not only about flowers, but about bringing people in our general public and business communities together to collaboratively make our town a better place to work, live and play. There are tangible economic and social benefits to everyone in the Sooke region directly attributable to the Communities in Bloom program. 


All Candidates Meeting - submit your questions

The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce will be hosting an 'All Candidates Question & Answer Meeting' on November 4, 2014 at 7:00 pm at the Prestige Oceanfront Resort in anticipation of the upcoming municipal election. This meeting is open to the public and free of charge. In preparation for this professionally moderated event, the Chamber is seeking questions from the general public that could be asked of the mayoral and council candidates at the event. Questions can be directed towards either the mayoral or council candidates and will remain anonymous. For an updated list of candidates, click here.


In accordance with the Constitution and Bylaws for the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce, nominations for members to serve on the Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors are now open.  Nominees must be members in good standing and may submit your own name. This two-year term begins January 1st, 2015.  Please give this matter serious consideration and if interested, complete the Nomination Form for 2015/2016 Board of Directors by Wednesday, November 5th, 2014.


October 18, 2014 - 1:00 pm

Moms Cafe

2036 Shields Road, Sooke BC

Guest Speaker:  
Marlene Barry, Sooke Region Volunteer Centre

"The Newcomers Club is a get-together for relatively new residents to the Sooke region (3 years or less) to meet with other newcomers as well learn about our local community in the areas of history, recreation, volunteer opportunities, local amenities, services and businesses, along with other topical items that are important to the future of the community and its residents."

Meetings take place at various venues throughout the Sooke region, typically on a monthly basis with local guest speakers. 

~All newcomers to the community are invited~

 Please RSVP to the Chamber office 
by October 17th: 250-642-6112 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 



Thursday, October 23 ~ 5:00 to 7:00 pm

Café & Marketplace
6726 West Coast Road, Sooke BC


Featuring house baked products and specialty deli items with pairings from 
Tugwell Creek Honey Farm and Meadery!

Great Networking!
Bring your brochures/rack & business cards
Enter to WIN the door prize!


Chamber Business Mixer

Hosting a Chamber Business Mixer is a prime opportunity to promote your business to a captive audience while displaying firsthand the quality of your product, service and facility.  

Learn more about the benefits of hosting a 
hamber Business Mixer 
Call 250-642-6112 or 
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


'Business Member Spotlight' Ad in the Sooke News Mirror:

Dimensions are 10.5"x3.5" for this professionally designed ad which includes Chamber member’s photo, logo, 75 words or less & contact info for ONLY $60!  Our member is boldly featured and the ad is bordered by Chamber info (upcoming events or important notices).

Sooke Chamber Website Banner Ad: 

Appears on most pages on our website, ONLY $90 for 3 months! Designing of ad is included by our in-house professional designer.




The Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce encourages all businesses in the Sooke region to submit their information to be published on our website's business directory.  One of the many benefits of being a Chamber member means the inclusion of detailed business information such as logos, tag phrases, mission statements, company descriptions and links in our directory.  *Only basic contact information will be published for non-members as a service to our community.

Sooke Region Chamber of Commerce
201 - 2015 Shields Road, Sooke, BC V9Z 0E4
Office: 250.642.6112
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 
Social: @sookechamber

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