What is a Chamber of Commerce, and What is Their Role in the Community?

There are many misconceptions about what a chamber of commerce is and what they do. Many times, a chamber of commerce is mistaken for a government agency, a “4-1-1” information center, or the go to organization for community events. However, these notions could not be further from the truth. A chamber of commerce is a membership-based organization, comprised of businesses and organizations, joining forces to be the voice of the business community, while offering programs and benefits for the membership to address business needs and interests. At the Harford County Chamber of Commerce, the mission is to be the premier business advocate in the county, helping members connect and thrive to create a vibrant economy across all sectors. These words are stated in publications distributed from the Harford Chamber, and even adorn the walls in the historic home, converted to office space, at 108 South Bond Street in the heart of Harford County. But what do these words really mean?

The Harford County Chamber of Commerce’s mission gives an overview of its primary functions which includes advocacy, education, relationships & connections, economic development, partnerships, business exposure and member benefits. Their top priorities are the members, a healthy business community and being the voice of business – not just the eyes and ears. Thanks to the efforts of the Harford Chamber’s Legislative Committee and staff, they can stay abreast of legislation being discussed in Annapolis during the Maryland General Assembly Session and keep members up to date on pertinent information and legislation that may affect the business community, as well as being the collective voice of businesses when supporting or opposing business laws.

All Harford Chamber events are tailored to meet the needs of the business community and align with the primary functions of the chamber. Events like the State of the County Luncheon, Economic Forecast and Legislative Wrap-up Breakfasts address the chamber’s role with advocacy and economic development. Educational seminars are hosted throughout the year to offer resources such as digital marketing workshops and networking 101.  Even the Annual Dinner Banquet was geared towards being the go to resource for business as the Harford Chamber welcomed Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford as the guest speaker to discuss business initiatives from the state level.

Every April, as the legislative session ends in Annapolis, the Harford Chamber hosts their Legislative Wrap-up Breakfast. Harford County residents and the business community are invited to attend to receive a first-hand account of the 2018 Maryland Legislative Session directly from the Harford County Delegation. Harford County’s elected officials in the Maryland General Assembly participate in a panel to discuss the legislative session and take questions from the audience.

It is a goal of the Harford County Chamber of Commerce to breakdown the misconceptions surrounding the objectives and operations of a chamber of commerce so that they can be of greater value to the Harford County business community. More information about the Harford County Chamber of Commerce, how they can be a resource for your business or their upcoming events, visit

Excerpt from 2018 article written by Jen Basel

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