SANBORN, NY (June 18) – Momentum – The Business Growth Agency president Craig W. Turner and Welke Customs Brokers USA president & CEO Damon Piatek today announced the creation of an exciting new scholarship program designed to connect new small businesses with their regional chamber of commerce. The new program will create sponsored membership opportunities with the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce.
“Small businesses have borne the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic and the related governmental restrictions,” said Turner. “Sadly, many succumbed to the circumstances and were forced to close their doors. Many others have held on, but continue to struggle. While a number of programs were put in place by various levels of government, governmental programs were not always the answer for Main Street business struggling with real world challenges, such as workforce, inventory, work-from-home and new consumer habits, which only added to the uphill climb they’ve faced.”
Both Turner and Piatek noted that chambers of commerce have filled an essential role during the pandemic, working directly for small businesses as a resource, an advocate and an ear to listen. For the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce, much of their work for the past year revolved around 1-on-1 assistance, helping small businesses navigate not only programs like PPP, but real life challenges they continue to face every day.
To make it easier for small businesses to get involved and receive the benefits of Niagara USA membership, Momentum Public Affairs and Welke Customs Brokers USA have each pledged $500 to the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce to be used as scholarships for new (first-time) members to the organization.
“We believe in chambers of commerce and the important work they do,” said Piatek. “Unfortunately, for many small businesses struggling right now, a membership fee to a chamber of commerce is that last thing their budget can handle. While Niagara USA has turned no one away during this time, small businesses that are not involved through membership likely do not even know or understand the services that are available.”
“As a member of Niagara USA, I’ve seen for the past year how critical their services have been, and how they’ve answered the call – from the board to the staff to the network of members,” Turner said. “We’re hoping this new program helps many small businesses across Niagara County get connected with this resource that can help them.”
In addition to their own sponsorships, Momentum and Welke USA are challenging other members of the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce to match their $500 commitment, to enable more small businesses throughout Niagara County to be able to participate. Through this program, Niagara USA has agreed to make one-year memberships for companies new to the chamber of commerce available for $200. Every $1,000 in scholarship contributions will pay for five (5) new Niagara USA members.
“Many companies pulled back on their memberships over the past year,” said Piatek. “We actually joined more chambers of commerce, and it’s been confirmed to be a good decision every day, with the service we’ve received at the darkest times. We want to help make sure a membership fee isn’t a barrier for small businesses needing that same help.”
Members through the program will not only get their first-year membership covered through the scholarship, but will also be offered a mentor from the Niagara USA board to help them get the most out of their membership.
Small businesses must meet the following criteria to be eligible for a membership scholarship:
- New member to Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce
- Fewer than 10 employees
- Located in Niagara County
- Local ownership
“Our business model was forced to change over the past year, with cancelled events and much more 1-on-1 interaction required, to help small businesses muddle through the bleakest times,” said Kory Schuler, executive director for the Niagara USA Chamber of Commerce. “I thank Momentum and Welke USA for spearheading this initiative, because I believe it will help small businesses across the county engage with us, and get access to our network and resources, that can help them get through their current challenges.”
For more information, or to apply, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.