Chilliwack Chamber cancels business conference

Not enough businesses sign up for two-day conference with a full roster of speakers and workshops.

A business conference planned by the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce later this month has been cancelled for lack of participants.

“Unfortunately with today’s current economic climate our uptake in participation is lower than anticipated,” Patti MacAhonic, executive director of the Chamber, said in a statement released Thursday.

She told The Progress fewer than 50 businesses signed up for the Chamber’s Third Annual Business Conference, a two-day affair starting Oct. 18 at the Coast Hotel with a full roster of speakers and workshops on business topics.

At least 125 participants were needed for the Chamber to break even.

MacAhonic said a Chamber committee had done a “fabulous” job putting together the conference, but perhaps in today’s economic climate small business owners could not afford to take two days away from their livelihoods during the week.

“We might have been better off holding it on Saturday and opening it up to all businesses,” she said.

The decision to cancel was “really difficult,” she said, but it would not have been fair to the speakers and the workshop presenters to continue with so few participants.

The Chamber is going to take a financial hit by canceling, and since it lost money on last year’s conference, the future of the event appears under a cloud.