UNITED STATES - “Bennington Made,” a local series developed by The Bennington Area Chamber of Commerce and CAT-TV was named as a Top 5 Finalist in the 3rd Annual Chamber Innovation Award Competition. “Bennington Made” will be featured alongside the other four finalists in the 2016 edition of Chambers of Inspiration, scheduled for release this fall.

The Bennington Made entry titled, “Lights, Camera, Bennington” describes the innovative series: “When it comes to shining a spotlight on local business, production quality is critical, and the Bennington Chamber of Commerce gets it. “Bennington Made” is a behind-the-scenes tv series that showcases unique Bennington businesses. Similar in format to Discovery Science’s “How It’s Made” and ABC News’ “Made in America,” the production is both modern and intriguing. With a focus on quality, craftsmanship, and locally-made products, the series puts a spotlight on the pride and celebration of products made by residents of Bennington. “Bennington Made” brings great opportunity to member businesses; they benefit from the exposure and they also receive the professional footage for use in their own marketing efforts. The best part? It’s free! The Chamber partners with the local cable access channel to produce the show. Additionally, the Chamber uses the program and videos to draw visitors, other businesses, and workers to the area.”

“The award competition is through our chamber relationship management software company, ChamberMaster,” describes Bennington Chamber executive director and brainchild of the program, Matt Harrington. “We applied a few months ago, thinking what the heck let’s give it a shot!”

The 2016 Chamber Innovation Award Competition is sponsored by ChamberMaster and LaunchGen.com. The competition celebrates and showcases enterprising Chambers of Commerce from across North America. In its third year, the competition encourages innovation by recognizing programs, events, and ideas that challenge the status quo. The 2016 panel brought a wealth of industry expertise to the competition including judges Frank Kenny of Chamber Pro, Jason Stambaugh of LaunchGen.com, and John Cook of ChamberMaster.

Entries are judged on creativity, community impact, and value to the Chamber. The Top 5 Innovators will be featured in the 2016 edition of Chambers of Inspiration due out this fall.

“The concept behind ‘Bennington Made’ and why I thought it was worth our entering the competition is because one of our core beliefs at the Chamber is in aligning community-wide collaboration and direct-value resources,” states Harrington. “We think we can dramatically change the game and create a win-win scenario for our Chamber and our members in the next decade with the right types of innovation. It’s no secret we have to work fast and smart to figure out what the Chamber of Commerce should be in the next 10 years. Our ability to combine community talents, resources, ideas, and strategy not only helps promote our business members and the Chamber globally, but “Bennington Made” also helps our members understand how to compete in the world of new media. It’s an extremely valuable benefit to being part of the Chamber of Commerce.”

The 2016 Chamber Innovation Award Competition finalists will be celebrated this week at the National ACCE Conference in Georgia. First place went to “#LeapOfKindnessDay” from the Saratoga County Chamber of Commerce, second place went to “Shop Southern Illinois” from the Carbondale Chamber of Commerce, and third place went to “LAX Coworking” from the LAX Coastal Chamber of Commerce. “Bennington Made” and “Davis Regional Amazing Race” from the Greater Statesville Chamber of Commerce were named as Honorable Mention Winners.