Today (June 10th, 2011) may well prove to be a historic day for the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, in Cambridge, Ontario Canada. In the grand scheme of things, we ain’t done too bad! 10 years ago we were in the final weeks before occupancy of our new Gateway Business and Visitor Information Centre at the corner of Highway 24 and 401, we were at roughly 700 members, looking for ways to build our membership, and our revenue to pay for this wonderful facility. Today Chamber Chair Cory McRae is in Mexico City at the World Chambers Congress where the Cambridge Chamber is up for a World Chamber Award for their program, known nationally as the best financial literacy program in Canada, Funny Money. Funny Money was the brain child of headline Canadian Comedian James Cunningham, who is widely know in the comedy world from his stints on Last Comic Standing, Just for Laughs and Comedy Inc., and more recently for his hit TV show on the Food Network in Canada and Cooking Channel in the US called “Eat Street”. Funny Money is a program that James brought to the Chamber as a College and University program originally. I wondered back then if it wasn’t better suited for High Schools, so we embarked on a path to find that sponsor who would support it. Two organizations eventually came forward, the Investor Education Fund and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada to fund the program from coast to coast to coast. Now in its third year we have presented to over 400,000 Canadian high school students teaching them in a very comedic way, how to manage money now and how to prepare themselves for the future.
At 3:00 pm est, today, Cory and James will be sitting on pins and needles till their category comes up. They have been there for two days, rehearsing their presentation, dealing with technical issues, running around meeting and conversing with folks to push our cause of the importance in preparing the next generation of entrepreneurs. If we don’t win, well, being nominated as one of the top five (5) Chamber programs in the world, ain’t too shabby either, but it will make for a long, quiet, plane ride home on Saturday. If we win, I’m a bit worried about the celebrating Cory and James will be doing in Mexico City today, but I would encourage them to celebrate away because we will be.
I’m certainly cognizant of the fact we may not win, however we do know now, that James and Cory rocked the presentation. We had more people come up to them after than any other presentation, we had more interest from other Chambers looking to see how they can bring Funny Money to their home town, it has been amazing the reports say. I was unable to attend due to a dumb thing I did to my elbow last week, but I’m certainly there in spirit and constantly connected to them via email. If we win, it will mean a huge life changing experience for the Cambridge Chamber. We will be recognized as global leaders in Chamber development, we will be expected to perform on the world stage, we will most certainly elevate the respect among our peers, it will be a different set of responsibilities.
So here we are, the Cambridge Chamber of Commerce, on top of the World in Mexico, waiting to hear if we are still one of the best Chamber Programs in the World, or THE Best Chamber project of the World.