Edwardsburg Chamber experiencing growthPublished 7:49pm Wednesday, March 6, 2013
There was plenty of good news at the 2013 Edwardsburg Area Chamber of Commerce annual dinner.
The chamber grew by some 10 members in 2012 according to out-going president Dawn Bolock.
Despite inclement weather, the dinner held at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church, was well attended.
Edwardsburg Boy Scout Dustin Long, who is working on his Eagle Scout project, gave a brief presentation about his fundraising efforts to build a playground in the coming year. Long needs to raise approximately $15,000 for the project.
Tuesday’s guest speaker, Penny Lewandowski, vice president of Entrepreneurship and Strategic Direction, gave chamber members and their guests an overview of just what the Edward Lowe Foundation is and what it does for the business community.
Lewandowski spoke about Second Stage Companies, who “have a positive impact on the economy,” she said.
Unlike startups, Second Stage Companies don’t have to worry about surviving in the business world. These companies are “significant” job creators. They usually enter the Second Stage category when they approach $1 million in total receipts according to Lewandowski.
The Edward Lowe Foundation began focusing on these companies in the 2000s. Between 1995 and 2009, Second Stage Companies represented only 10.9 percent, but created 36.2 percent of jobs and 38.6 percent of sales according to YourEconomy.org.
The Edward Lowe Foundation supports Second Stage Companies in several ways, including hosting retreats at its Big Rock Valley location near Cassopolis; with PeerSpectives, a CEO roundtable that uses peers to help businesses advance; and the National Center for Economic Gardening.
Economic Gardening, according to Lewandowski, refers to a “grow from within” strategy that helps existing companies within a community to grow larger.
Following dinner, Barbara Wright, the chamber’s financial officer reported that the group financially is in sound shape and with continued growth will improve even more.
Wright, who is stepping down after eight years, was presented a gift by the chamber for her years of service.