California biz journal upset over local chamber starting “40 under 40”
The Pacific Coast Business Times in California is upset that one of its local chambers of commerce has started its own “40 under 40” event similar to the one it has been operating for more than a decade.
The Greater Conejo Valley Chamber of Commerce plans to offer its own “40 under 40” event on April 28, according to its website.
Meanwhile, the Business Times, which is based in Santa Barbara, plans to publish its special “40 under 40” section on Aug. 26, and plans to hold an awards dinner on Sept. 12. It has held a similar event since 2001.
Events such as this are popular at business journals because they generate revenue and attract readers. The Business Times also has events titled Top 50 Women in Business, 101 One Hundred/Business Hall of Fame, Champions in Health Care, Latino Business Awards, and Fastest Growing Companies.
In an editorial titled “Tacky chamber move sets bad example,” Business Times editor and founder Henry Dubroff and publisher Linda le Brock wrote:
We don’t see how copying a successful program put on by one of the Chamber’s longtime supporters enhances the Greater Conejo Valley community or chamber members. It may also not sit well with the dozens of Conejo Valley residents who’ve been honored by the Business Times at our 15 previous 40 under 40 programs.
We are calling on the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber executive committee, the board and chamber members to stand up for the rights of an established small business that has been honored by NAWBO, the U.S. Small Business Administration, the Ventura, Santa Paula and Santa Barbara chambers and many others.
If you are not willing to do this for the Business Times, you might consider the following question: Which successful company’s ideas will the Greater Conejo Valley Chamber decide to copycat next?
You can be sure that if that happens, the Business Times will stand up for you.
Henry Dubroff told Talking Biz News:
We would generally prefer not to be the subject of our editorials. But we felt compelled to speak out on behalf of the 600 prior winners of our 40 under 40 program. We think that for a chamber of commerce to copy and compete with a local small business undermines the spirit of innovation we should all be trying to encourage.