Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce is rebranding, expanding its footprint

The Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce is ringing in a new era this week, unveiling a new name, logo and broadening its footprint to include more of Silicon Valley.

The organization announced Friday during its sold-out New Years in June Awards Gala that it will become the Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce, focusing on South Bay cities north of San Jose, the Bay Area’s largest city. Its targe cities will include Santa Clara, Los Gatos, Campbell, Cupertino, Sunnyvale and Mountain View.

“Our goal is to be a resource and support these smaller cities that make up the South Bay,” said Harbir Bhatia, the chamber’s current chair of its Community Relations Committee.

Notably, the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce is the second chamber to shed a city-specific name for a more regional moniker. San Jose is home to the Silicon Valley Organization, now known as the SVO, but just a few years ago it was called the San Jose Silicon Valley Chamber of Commerce. The SVO is also aimed at advocating for businesses in Silicon Valley and has 1,200 business members, according to its website. But despite both groups taking on more regional roles, Nick Kaspar, president and CEO of the chamber, said he sees the two organizations as complementary.

“SVO is one of the biggest chambers in the state, so we are not looking to compete with them by any means, it is really to be another loud voice fighting for businesses,” Kaspar said. “I think the difference is that we are looking more towards central Silicon Valley.”

The chamber’s current board will stay in place initially, though new members will likely be added in the future to represent the cities and companies the chamber plans to include, Kaspar said. Its committee structure will change, with new chairs and committees announced next month.

Today, as the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce, the organization has more than 400 members. As the Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce, the group is aiming to grow its membership to include small businesses and startups as well as attract tech titans in the South Bay.

In an effort to become more regional, the chamber is the latest to shed its city’s name, following in the footsteps of the SVO.

While Santa Clara is home to multiple large organizations, including prolific chipmaker Nvidia Corp. and the San Francisco 49ers organization, the chamber’s new focus area will broaden its potential reach to some of the largest companies in the world. Among them: Apple Inc., based in Cupertino, and Mountain View-based Alphabet, which is the parent company of Google.

Professional networking giant, LinkedIn, is currently based in Sunnyvale, but planning to build a new Mountain View headquarters in the coming years.

“It should be large corporations, small businesses and even having some community organizations and individuals,” Bhatia said. “It is intended to represent the whole myriad of what makes our economy successful.”

The rebranding comes after the Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce earlier this year lost its more than three-decade contract to manage the Santa Clara Convention Center amid accusations of mismanagement of the facility by a city audit. The convention center, which has a distinct pyramid-like roof, had inspired the group’s previous logo.

But rather than just dream up a new logo, Kaspar says chamber leaders opted to think more holistically about the direction of the organization and its place in an area where regional planning bodies are scarce.

“We all work in silos right now and I think together we can accomplish much more,” Kaspar said. “It was really just looking at it and asking ‘What is the next progression of the Chamber of Commerce?’ and saying that if we are going to rebrand, let’s do something innovative and different.”

Contact Janice Bitters at janice@sanjosespotlight.com or follow @JaniceBitters on Twitter.

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