Gabriola Island Chamber of Commerce
Supporting and Growing Local Businesses since 1984
The Gabriola Island Chamber Story
The Gabriola Island Chamber of Commerce was established in 1984. The Chamber members are a diverse group of entrepreneurs and family-owned enterprises. Members work together for the common good of our island community by providing services, support, and networking opportunities for business to succeed.
The Chamber is managed by a volunteer Council which is elected by its members. These Councillors sit on a wide variety of committees to ensure that the Gabriola business community is represented in the decisions made for our island. The Chamber also employs two professional contract staff. The work of the Chamber is carried out by staff, volunteer committees, and task forces.
The Gabriola Island Chamber relies on membership dues and fundraising events to support its activities. Destination BC provides operational funding for the Visitor Centre.
Expanding into Economic Development
In 2016, the Gabriola Chamber began the exploration and creation of a local economic development plan. The grassroots initiative envisioned sustainable economic growth rooted in island values and presented actions towards building local resiliency through collaboration.
With the support of Island Coastal Economic Trust and Community Futures Central Vancouver Island, the Gabriola Economic Readiness Plan was developed through wide community engagement and facilitated sessions with residents, business owners, and local organizations.
In 2017, the Community Economic Development initiative was underway when the Gabriola Chamber saw an opportunity to hold a Service Agreement with the Regional District of Nanaimo for Tourism and Economic Development.
With the Service Agreement in place, the Chamber applied for and was awarded funding from the BC Rural Dividend for implementation of the Economic Readiness Plan.
In March 2018, the Economic Development Advisory Group was formed as the advising body for the Community Economic Development Officer.
The Economic Development Advisory Group is an integral part of the Community Economic Development initiative as they represent the whole of the population. Their input, direction and advisement encourage positive community, environmental and social impacts as well as build a resilient, robust and sustainable local economy. In May of 2018, Julie Sperber was hired as the Community Economic Development Officer.
In the past 3 years the Chamber has:
- helped launch 5 new island businesses.
- supported over 40 individuals with their businesses through one-on-one services.
- assisted in the development of 8 business plans for local enterprise.
- hosted 16 events for networking, learning and business development.
- distributed over 100 links for business information, funding opportunities, resources and supports.
- contributed over $16,000 in funding directly to local entrepreneurs through 3 initiatives in response to COVID-19.
- The Chamber has shared resources and supported local businesses in navigating information, challenges, and programs.
- Economic Development Advisory Group
- Gabriola Food Hub, Good Earth Farm
Farm to School BC – Nanaimo Hub
Gabriola Agricultural COOP
Gabriola Health & Wellness HUB
- Positive Impact Coaching
- Maria coaches people, teams and leaders to be their own, unique positive force for change.
- Economic Development Advisory Group
- Vancouver Island Tourism
Judy Joseph Black Consulting
- social purpose entrepreneur
- strategy, creative, culture
- works locally and globally on human rights, public health, social equity, and organizational development
- award-winning designer, sought after strategist
- green-thumbed, island-loving