When was the last time you went to a business networking event and left with a handful of business cards, or passed out lots of your own?
Learned something new over a lunch break that could shift your business perspective, or change how you do business? Stepped up to shape legislative public policy and make business better for yourself and others?
People want to do business with those they like, know and trust.
“Upper Bucks Chamber of Commerce provides a great platform for business owners to meet and get to know each other. We provide the space for this,” said Tara King, UBCC executive director.
There really is a free lunch. A recent UBCC Lunch and Learn program guided about 15 participants in getting more from Linked In by upping their profile pages, creating engagement and exposure by commenting, liking and publishing content on the business social media platform, known for its broad reach and professionalism.
Lunch and Learn programs are open to members and their employees and lunch is free of charge, thanks to generous support by Quakertown Chick- fil-A.
“I’d been to other chambers, but I had no idea before coming to (and joining) UBCC what a chamber could be like,” said Victoria McClatchy, mortgage loan originator with First Choice Loan Services, Inc., in Southampton.
New to the Upper Bucks business community? UBCC is a SCORE hub. Our members can tap into and find mentoring from business pros with years of experience providing one-on-one sessions and support with marketing and business promotion, and its free.
The Small Business Development Center at Lehigh University also offers free resources and staff. They also host Lunch and Learn programs designed, to help new and established tackle issues that may stymie company growth. “We love UBCC,” said Rob Mineo, SBDC financing assistance program director.
Considering doing business overseas? UBCC provides unlimited Certificates of Origin, and they’re free.
Visit the website for a summary listing of member benefits at http://www.ubcc.org/member-benefits.html
Like a gym membership, magazine subscription, Netflix or any pay service, to be worthwhile upfront cash is the initial investment, but use puts those wheels on the bus.
“Chamber membership requires engagement. You get out of it what you put into it,” said Pam Sawyer, account executive for Comcast Spotlight in North Wales.
An active part of the chamber’s Membership Committee, Sawyer understands relationship building takes time and persistence.
“Join a committee, go to events and get involved, that’s when you will really see the benefits of your chamber membership,” Sawyer said.
UBCC is the go-to source for member opportunities. Make use of our networking events. Advertise! Connect with service opportunities, education or volunteer during events. Be a mentor. Provide the next generation business summer or college break internships. Shape business legislative public policy by attending events or serving on the committee.
Member volunteers drive and staff events like Foodie and our first Clay Shoot, June Golf Outing and a re-energized Expo and Career Fair, coming in March 2018.
While chambers can sometimes feel intimidating, long-time members, newcomers and guests are quickly made to feel at home at UBCC.
Describing UBCC as the friendliest chamber he’s ever been involved with, Steve Gortvay may have just said it best. "The reason I’m here (at a membership committee meeting) is because of the warm welcome I’ve received, which has been a hallmark of this chamber and every event I’ve attended,” said Gortvay, long-time regional advertising sales executive, of Macungie.
Pride of Quakertown, or POQ as its more commonly known, steps up when cash strapped families can’t.
By footing the costs for instrument or music lessons so kids can join band, gymnastics and team sports fees like basketball, swimming, classes at the YMCA or even Tae Kwon Do, POQ makes a difference in the lives of Quakertown Community School District children.
“POQ has helped my students by offering them scholarships for extra-curricular activities such as basketball, art (or) music classes, horseback riding, and karate,” said Eileen Bruchak, Quakertown Elementary School counselor. Bruchak works with students in Grades K-5.
Giving back to the community by providing opportunities to disadvantaged youngsters is at the heart of Pride of Quakertown.
“Our focus has been the community and its children by helping them to (engage) and keeping them involved in positive activities,” said Pride of Quakertown Co-Founder Jen Reich.
The non-profit organization founded by Jen Reich and her brother-in-law Kevin Reich in 2010 offers financial assistance to Quakertown youth to help them become athletes, musicians, or artists.
“Many of these students would not have the opportunity to do an after school activity without a POQ scholarship,” Bruchak said.
Fueled by volunteer time and commitment and funded by various events, and private and corporate donations and sponsorships, POQ continues to grow.
“As a community bank, we (QNB) want to do things in the community and to see kids who want to do extra-curricular activities and can’t afford them, (get the chance) that is where we can help,” said Dave Freeman, President and CEO of QNB in Quakertown.
Freeman said while some employees may volunteer to work tables at events, QNB’s primary role is financial sponsorship. “By funding this organization” QNB becomes a partner in providing benefits to help children, according to Freeman.
Participating in group sports or other team activities youngsters learn about teamwork and how to get along with others, valuable skills on the road success in adulthood, Freeman said.
Reich said over the past six years more than $180,000 had been provided to as many as 90 children in Grades K-12 to support extra-curricular participation.
Last year, youngsters participated in roughly 7,000 hours of activities because of the financial support provided by POQ.
While many youth are sponsored at the primary level, Reich stressed support was available up to high school graduation.
Donations can be general or specific to an activity. “My life was changed and influenced by being part of a team. To be able to forward that to local children continues to drive what we do,” Reich said.
POQ continues to address the needs of vulnerable youth who might not otherwise have a chance to learn how to swing a bat, dribble a basketball, play the C-major scale on a trumpet or enjoy the majesty of a horseback ride.
“There are tremendous social and emotional benefits for students participating in extra-curricular activities. The students really enjoy their experiences,” Bruchak said.
To find out more: Sponsorships and donations are welcome year-round. To be a sponsor or volunteer at a fundraising event or for more information about youth eligibility, visit www.prideofquakertown.org.
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