EBA - A Year In Review

Disruption. Change. Uncertainty. It is everywhere. From the challenges in building pipelines to legalized cannabis to an impending election to the instability of the Alberta economy, an organization such as the Edmonton Business Association has never been so needed.  

EBA in 2018

We Dropped the S

January 2018 was a historical time for the Edmonton Business Association (EBA). Our members voted an outstanding 95% in favour of a name change in January to make the shift to become the EBA from the South Edmonton Business Association (SEBA). In the more than 100-year history, we had never made a name change or rebrand so it was an important moment to our history in Edmonton. The rebrand was a change to #droptheS from our name and respond to the growing needs of our members that cater to partners and customers across the city. We caught up to the realities of doing business in Edmonton that no longer rely on geographical boundaries.

Since our official change from SEBA to EBA, a seismic shift has occurred. Organizations such as the Edmonton Chamber of Commerce and the Leduc Chamber of Commerce have partnered with us to help champion the work of small business. We've had inquiries from many other organizations that see the value of a city-wide small business network. And we are proud to say that we are just getting started.

Revamped EBA Benefits Package

One of the biggest changes to the EBA this year was in revamping our membership benefits. We want the EBA to be the “go-to” business association for small business owners in Edmonton. We’ve heard time and time again that the support our members receive from the other members of the EBA is what makes them come back to the organization. As such, we want to attract the types of members that support one another and share in the vision of the organization to act as catalysts for business.

For the first time in more than five years, the EBA also raised its membership pricing. The pricing is still accessible for small businesses in Edmonton, but allows us to increase our spend on growing our membership and providing them with the types of resources they need. The EBA remains committed to staying accessible but relies on paid memberships to remain sustainable. We do not receive any government funding.

Website Relaunch

Another change we made in 2018 was to introduce a new website for members that offered more benefits for their membership. Not only is the EBA website a benefit for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for many of our members, but it also allows members to access each other’s contact details.

Members can also update their own offers and deals for members to try out their service. This can all be offered through the member’s own webpage. And, the most beneficial aspect of the website is the ability to write a review about other members and their businesses. This interaction helps create an even bigger sense of community for our members. 

Giving Back to Community

As always, the EBA believes in giving back to our community as part of our mandate. In 2018, the EBA selected the Chrysalis Society as its charity of choice for the year because of their commitment to assisting individuals living with a disability achieve their employment goals. While the final figures aren’t in yet, we will be donating a little over $1,000 to them to continue with their mandate. These funds were raised throughout the year through donations at the door of our monthly EBA Mixers.

To the board of directors who are committed to changing the face of small business associations, to our sponsors who have been with us every step of the way, and to our incredible membership who are coming out in droves to events like last week's Movember fundraiser, thank you. Thank you for your support in a year of transition and celebration. Thank you for your commitment to our city and our province. 

Next year, we hope to give back to the future of the community through new and innovative ways that support our members and the Association’s future.

EBA Legacy

Despite its 100+ year history, the EBA had few formalized policies and procedures. Our volunteer Board has been busy creating those to help create a legacy for the Association. These policies and procedures change and adapt with the times but will help our members better understand the Association’s role in the community and offers the type of support they need.

EBA in 2019

New Board of Directors

In January, members in good standing of the EBA will have the opportunity to vote on its incoming volunteer Board. Board members from 2018 would like to continue with the Board into 2019 but will need to be voted in at the upcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) on January 23, 2019.

The last day for Board applications was November 30, 2018. The Board is currently reviewing applicants and nominees will be announced in the New Year.

Upcoming Events

The EBA is planning to continue its monthly EBA Mixers and Luncheons in 2019. However, we need your input! We plan to provide more resources for relevant issues facing Edmonton businesses and ensure our members are receiving the support they need. To help us better understand member needs, please participate in our EBA Membership survey. Not only will you be contributing to the future of the EBA, but will also have the chance to win a free luncheon to a 2019 event.

Our upcoming events are:

•       January 8: Maximize Your Business

•       January 23: EBA AGM

•       January 31: Monthly Mixer

•       February 25: EBA Luncheon

•       February 2: The Top 5 Common Mistakes Startups Make

Grants & Programmes

As a not-for-profit organization, the EBA this year also applied for a few local and provincial government grants to help us grow in 2019. The EBA will be participating in a project with the business students from MacEwan University in the New Year on implementing change to our organization.

The EBA understands that disruption and change may be the new normal. We believe we can meet that new operating system as a united front of like-minded businesses. From all of us at the EBA, we wish you and yours a very happy holiday season. Here's to another year of growth, opportunity and prosperity!

Julie Geldart