Regional Focus a Constant for Lansing Chamber
Travel a major thoroughfare or side street, cruise downtown, or take in a community event andyou're bound to see the imprint of the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce.
For more than 110 years, members of this businessand community organization have worked together tomold a prosperous economic climate for Lansing andthe surrounding area."Being part of the greater Lansing region is nothingnew to us," says Tim Damon, chamber president andCEO. "That relationship was part of our mission thenand is part of our mission moving forward."Business leaders founded the Lansing chamber in1901 with the sole purpose of convincing Ransom E.Olds to start his motorcar company on city grounds."Obviously, our founders were successful," saysDamon. "In many ways, the name R.E. Olds issynonymous with this region."Lansing and outlying landmarks bear the stamp of former chamber leaders and members,including James Henry Moores, C.W. Otto, William K. Prudden and Fred Wohlert. Today'schamber also comprises recognizable businesses and leaders from Lansing and all pointsnorth, south, east or west, from DeWitt to Eaton Rapids to Williamston to Grand Ledge.Close to 1,150 businesses and individuals boast membership in the century-old chamber,ensuring the continual flow of investment and job creation opportunities as well as advocacyprograms with local and state government. Organizations such as the Lansing Economic AreaPartnership, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and the Small BusinessAdministration are also actively engaged in chamber efforts.About 80 to 85 percent of Lansing chamber members are small business owners with 15 orfewer employees. Larger organizations include companies in the insurance sector, highereducation, health care and manufacturing. Young entrepreneurs and emerging business start-ups round out the mix."Having that diverse membership makes our organization diverse as well," says Damon. "We tryto deliver those products and services that best meet the needs of our membership base."
An Eye Toward Sharing
In the past few years, Chamber programs and services have reflected collaborative effortsaimed at creating opportunity and supporting existing businesses.The State Trade and Export Promotion (STEP) is one of the more recent programs. Incooperation with MEDC and the SBA, STEP serves an 18-county territory and helps supportbusinesses that are growing and expanding in international markets.