We would like to wish Rick Cole a warm welcome to Santa Monica as our new City Manager. His lifelong career in public policy and civic engagement will be a tremendous asset to our community. Just as with his predecessor Rod Gould and the many other talented individuals who have occupied that office, we look forward to a fruitful partnership with Mr. Cole that benefits our business community and Santa Monica as a whole.

The Santa Monica Chamber of Commerce is proud to have launched a number of successful partnerships with the City. This year, we celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Sustainable Quality Awards, which we co-founded with the City of Santa Monica and Sustainable Works. This event has grown from a spark of an idea in 1994 to a popular and nationally respected opportunity to honor the businesses and individuals that go above and beyond in incorporating best sustainability principals into their day-to-day operations. Santa Monica’s healthy economy and demonstrated commitment to our environment proves that being green is good for the city and good for business.

We also partner with the City to support our Business Improvement Districts, which support businesses, quality of life and attract shoppers to our hot spots around town-from Main Street to Downtown to Montana Avenue. Many of the stores, restaurants and service providers along these corridors are small, family-run institutions, well-loved by their neighbors and visitors from around the world. As new businesses and start-ups continue to pop up, the importance of a local community of supporters becomes increasingly clear. The Chamber is committed to supporting every type of business-in good times and in challenging ones. We are grateful to have a strong partnership with the City that allows us to be an effective and trusted voice for the entire community.

Another key partnership is the City is the Santa Monica Alliance, which we co-founded to ensure that Santa Monica remains a welcoming environment for businesses to start, grow and thrive. For years, our members have worked hand-in-hand with City leadership to create smart policies, cut red tape and strategize about how to enhance our dynamic economic landscape by supporting emerging business sectors.

One key sector is the tech community, with which we have built strong ties through events like Hack the Beach, establishing mentoring relationships, recruitment efforts that have helped us top 1,000 members, and our newly launched Startup Awards, which are presented at our annual State of the City breakfast. We are constantly expanding our services and reach to meet the diverse needs of our vibrant business community. By working collaboratively with the City, we can craft policies to help attract, support and retain businesses here in our City, which in turn benefits the entire community with an energized work force, increased tax revenue and a greater quality of life.

Since our founding in 1925, the Chamber has always been at the center of the community; partnerships with City Hall have been integral from the start. We look forward to continuing this legacy alongside Mr. Cole. We are proud to serve as a resource, a collaborator, an advocate and a leader as we work together investing in Santa Monica’s future.

We also invite you to join us at our annual Wellbeing Festival on September 12 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. to celebrate Santa Monica by showcasing the services and products from Santa Monica businesses with over 4,000 locals and visitors at the outdoor area of the Civic Center! This event is free to the public and draws thousands of people every year. We will be joined by local businesses and nonprofits as they gather at the Festival to provide expertise, advice, and product samples promoting a healthy and happy lifestyle for the entire Santa Monica Community. Stores and restaurants from every neighborhood will have food and vendor booths. There will be music, cooking demos and interactive classes on stages and lots of opportunities to obtain free resources and screenings. Again this year, Fitness Trainers are invited to compete for the title of Santa Monica’s Finest Trainer. This year the festival is partnering with the Santa Monica Classic, a Los Angeles Marathon event benefiting the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation. As a special treat this year, 5,000 runners from the marathon will join us for the afternoon. So bring your family, and get ready to have a blast on September 12!

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