Need a classy conference space for your business, but unsure about paying top dollar for a hotel facility?
Try your local Chamber of Commerce.
The chamber of commerce is a four-hundred-year-old institution that traces its roots to Marseille, France. It’s not a government body; it’s a local network of businesses that have formed an association to look out for each other’s interests. And it usually has space, sometimes venerable and historic space, with ready availability for member use. In fact, a local Chamber often provides this space for the best price of all — free.
Take the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, for instance. It counts as members 5,000 regional businesses, from tiny sole proprietorships on up to large corporations. And any of those members can use the Chamber’s conference facilities for free.
Chambers that don’t rent out their own conference rooms may team up with other local enterprises to provide easier access to space for their members. This summer, the Greenwich Village-Chelsea Chamber of Commerce in New York City teamed up with Regus business center to provide free co-working space for member entrepreneurs.
Chambers across the U.S. provide an invaluable space resource that a lot of smaller businesses may need, but not be aware of. Many are already advertising their available meeting spaces — check out Jacksonville, NC, Dulles Regional in Chantilly, VA, Orange County, NY, and a host of others. Almost every town across the nation has a local or regional Chamber, and that Chamber has a building, and that building has…space.
Chamber conference rooms are often available free to members during normal business hours. Could they also become a space resource during the weekends — by renting out to members or even non-members, with the proceeds benefiting the local business network? There are about 3,000 Chambers in the United States, with widely ranging economic and political resources, from tiny, all-volunteer networks to powerful lobbies. We’d bet that in at least some of these situations, especially where a Chamber is lucky enough to have a beautiful historic building, a revamped conference room rental system could be a brilliant space solution — and also raise money to support the local business community.