Eastside chambers to gather for inaugural business summit

Five Eastside chambers of commerce collaborated to host the Eastside Regional Business Summit.

In an Eastside-wide collaboration, the Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce will host the inaugural Eastside Regional Business Summit on April 25, bringing local business executives together for collaborative support.

The joint effort between the Issaquah, SnoValley, Sammamish, Newcastle and Mercer Island chambers aims to educate Eastside business owners on issues, ranging from artificial intelligence and cyber-security to housing affordability and transportation. Executives will meet at The Club at Snoqualmie Ridge from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“The Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce is proud to be involved in this Regional Business Summit,” executive director Laurie Givan said. “We believe by partnering with the four other Chambers of Commerce that are involved, we are bringing access to expert speakers who have critical knowledge about our region’s business climate, business growth and business success.”

The Eastside Regional Business Summit was first conceived about a year ago by business executives of the Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce who pushed to see higher level collaboration between businesses in cities beyond Lake Washington. According to the Issaquah Chamber executive director Kathy McCorry, after receiving the feedback during monthly luncheons, the chamber began working to bring together cities along the Interstate 90 corridor.

“I’m excited to bring this opportunity to Eastside businesses,” McCorry said. “They were asking for something with a more global approach, not just learning on a specific issue. They wanted something to help them understand forecasts on whats going on in the communities and how to apply those to their businesses in order to remain successful.”

McCorry added that they’ve seen business officials from all five chamber regions sign up to attend the event. The five collaborating chambers have already committed to host the summit annually as long as local businesses continue to participate in it.

A variety of speakers will present at the event including keynote speaker Courtney Gregoire, a Port of Seattle commissioner, Margie Strite, community development specialist at Microsoft, David Boze, communications director at the Washington Policy Center, Jaime Cole of Ogletree Deakins, Josh Dirks of Project Bionic, and Mariya Frost of the Coles Center for Transportation.

Attendees will have an opportunity to collaborate with presenters, fellow business owners to learn about affordable housing, workforce hiring strategies, transportation, retention, labor laws, cyber-security and a recently proposed B&O tax increase. The summit will also feature a transportation panel where business owners can hear from and ask questions of transit authorities with Sound Transit, the Washington State Department of Transportation and King County Metro Transit.

“Having owned my own company in the past, I can tell you one of the biggest challenges in running a company is forecasting,” McCorry said. “I know sometimes it’s difficult for business professionals to make time for themselves… I think that this is one of those events that is worth their time and that the take-aways are going to be worth it well into the future.”