In an effort to promote effective entrepreneurship in San Pedro, the Belize Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) hosted “Chamber Day” at San Pedro High School’s (SPHS) R.A. Nuñez Auditorium on Friday, April 28th. A total of nine stakeholder groups participated: BCCI’s Western Union, Customs & Excise Department, Department General Sales Tax, Income Tax Department, Immigration Department, Department of Youth Services, BELTRAIDE (Belize Trade and Investment Development Service), Export Belize, Social Security Board, Belize Chocolate Company, and the Development Finance Corporation.
Opening the ceremony was Christopher Pech, BCCI Membership Program Administrator, who welcomed everyone to the event and explained the important role BCCI plays in Belize. Founded in 1920, BCCI is the largest private sector membership-based organization in Belize. Not only does BCCI help enhance the quality of life in the country, but it also promotes sustainable development through the business community.
John Greif III, President of Tropic Air, gave the welcome remarks. “Some of you will start your businesses, and my recommendation to anyone is to do something you are passionate about. Don’t worry if there is not a business plan. If you are passionate about it, that passion will show through. Get help from family, friends, or the community,” said Greif. As Tropic Air is a proud and longstanding member BCCI, Greif encouraged all potential business owners to consider joining the Chamber for its many benefits, including lobbying for policies and laws on behalf of businesses.
Afterwards, the SPHS student body, along with students from Ambergris Caye Elementary School, New Horizon Seventh Day Adventist Primary School, and community members visited the various booths from each stakeholder. From 11AM to 1PM, the gathering received valuable information on the many services offered. The students were able to ask several questions on the processes, responsibilities, obligations, and opportunities of each business.
Pech explained the idea behind Chamber Day. “Chamber Day was organized to reach out to the youth, and let them know that they don’t have to have a boss. They can start their own business, and still become successful individuals in the future. We also wanted to increase our awareness and membership. If the business community could get on board, we can strengthen our organization to help uplift this sector,” said Pech.
Chamber Day was previously hosted in San Ignacio, Dangriga and Orange Walk, and BCCI hopes to continue expanding their services and membership within the country. As BCCI is also dedicated to the growth, prosperity and development of their members, they are currently working to establish a San Pedro Branch of the BCCI.
BCCI is always looking for new members to join their network. Members can enjoy many benefits such as: business exposure, advocating for laws that speak to your business, and attaining a Chamber Card. If you own a business and are interested in becoming a member, please call 223-5330; email email@example.com; or apply online at www.belize.org