Your Chamber of Commerce is assisting all of us, from the smallest start-up to the largest corporate.
As we look forward to the second half of 2017 and the unfolding of events, my period of tenure as your Chamber President reaches the end of its second year.
With the momentous events that occurred in the past 12 months, and certainly since last June, we can reflect that ‘we didn’t see that coming’. Many leading so-called experts also got it horribly wrong. Fortunately, those set of circumstances will probably never be repeated.
What has amazed me, and many others, has been the resilience of local business and commerce in East Staffordshire, and across the region. A significant majority of businesses have continued to flourish through innovation, adaptation to the changed circumstances; and, downright, determination to succeed. I have heard it said that ‘the soothsayers have been put to flight’.
However, few if any of us could have accurately foretold, even as late as this time last year, what a period of change we were likely to witness.
Certainly, we are now in a new chapter in the economic, political and social environments of this country and its neighbours, both near and far. I am delighted by our growing numbers of members who continue to seize new opportunities.
Along with our Executive Director, Chris Plant, we have re-doubled our efforts. We have introduced re-focusing of key components of the Chamber membership package. This has mirrored extending support to every member through events and the Staffordshire Business Hub.
Let’s Do Business Expo has become a must-attend event. It has grown and evolved with its own unique style, strength in depth of the participants, and increased numbers attending. By introducing our specialised areas, we have been able to attract new attendees. They have seen at first-hand what the region, and our district at its centre, offers to new and existing business.
The past 12 months have witnessed considerable developments in and around Burton. Businesses certainly haven’t stood still. I find this remarkable and uplifting. It should act as encouragement for every MD and business owner. I am not sidestepping the challenges we all face. But importantly, recognising the resilience and fortitude of the companies in the County.
Both the TUC and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation have made positive responses on the opportunities for 2017, and beyond. ‘It’s time to refresh tactics’; and ‘Nothing is now impossible; that’s what 2016 has taught us’ were two typical comments. I summarise these comments as recommending, ‘focusing on the upsides’ and remaining positive. After all, ‘One man’s challenge is another’s opportunity’.
It is my strong belief that your Chamber of Commerce, along with other similar organisations and bodies, will assist all of us from the smallest start-up to the largest corporate to ‘weather this storm’. We have shown resilience in the past. We can do so again, without any doubt.
There will need to be some commitment to self-help; and perhaps additional determination. My vision for your Chamber is to continue to make East Staffordshire a prosperous area where everyone can thrive and contribute. Working with private, public and the voluntary sectors, your Chamber can, and will, inspire debate and action; and, importantly, develop solutions.
This succinctly presents what we can all aspire to develop and achieve. It builds exactly on what has already been accomplished. It sets an overall target that we can all, in your Chamber and beyond, contribute to deliver; and, in the process, reach new goals.
Over the past two years, individually and corporately, we have laid the foundations to maintain our success. As your Chamber President, I am delighted to report on the progress we have made to date. I also want to encourage each and every one in our business community to continue to promote East Staffordshire as a leading thriving and vibrant region.
It’s a key point that I make in all of my meetings and conversations with representatives from industry and commerce.
I welcome feedback and comment on this column and the work and activities of the Chamber. You can contact me at [email protected]
President of Burton and District Chamber of Commerce
Managing Director, Yee Group Limited