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Hear and be heard at New Castle Chamber listening session

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By Kathy Canavan

The first New Castle County Chamber of Commerce listening session drew about 30 people interested in issues that affect business. The chamber set up three sessions to glean the opinions of members in this gubernatorial election year. The remaining one is scheduled March 29.

“This year, when we have an election for governor, we think it’s important to hear from our members,” said Bob Chadwick, the chamber’s executive vice president. “We do have our business agenda that we’re out there advocating for, but this is part of a continuing effort to try to understand what our members need and what the Delaware business community needs.”

A mix of small-business people, representatives of larger companies and new entrepreneurs offer their opinions at the sessions, which are strategically located and timed so that all members can attend at least one session.

“We’re basically making it kind of a collaborative experience. We’re dividing people up into what we call collaborative tables,” Chadwick said. “One person at each table takes notes while the group answers questions such as, ‘What are the top five challenges faced by businesses already located in Delaware, and what can be done to help those businesses expand?’ ”

The groups discuss four or five questions for 10 or 15 minutes each. Chadwick said the collaborative-tables technique usually gets people talking and sharing their ideas.

The chamber plans to incorporate the issues businesspeople raise into its agenda this election year.

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