Business associations are membership organizations that are dedicated to furthering the commercial interests of their members. They can be very helpful, especially for smaller businesses because they utilize collective resources to accomplish things that would be too costly or difficult for their individual members. They are also great for networking and promoting other business to business transactions. Business associations sometimes engage in lobbying of local and national legislators to influence public policy in their favor. It is common for these types of institutions to offer scholarships to students interested in becoming part of their local business communities. Furthermore, there are business associations that cater to non-business related group interests as well. For example, there are business associations for certain ethnic groups, members of particular religions, political parties, etc. Many large business associations have regionally specific chapters or local branches in major cities. No matter how big or small your business is, you'll definitely want to join as many local business associations as you can. Of course, most of these organizations charge membership fees, so you might want to carefully consider the organization's goals and membership benefits before you actually join. Most of the time, people join these local groups to further the interests of their business in some way or another, although some business owners choose to join organizations for social and cultural reasons as well.