What's a Chamber of Commerce for ?
When I was recently woken up at 2am by my son’s dog, which had encountered a spider, I had the chance to think about why we have Chambers of Commerce. Don’t ask me why I thought about it right then, it’s just the way my mind works.
I got to thinking about the number of vans we see driving through the Chew Valley and the incredible range of work that businesses are doing. The majority of them don’t join a Chamber of Commerce and I expect one of the main reasons for that is people have the impression that we’re a group of old fogies sitting around and talking about the past.
In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Our members are active and creative, looking to forge business relationships, make contacts and find new contracts. They come from a wide range of sectors, so there are always nuggets of fresh information from any conversation.
One of the impacts of working from home during the pandemic was that younger members of staff didn’t have the chance to learn from more senior colleagues. Just sitting in a meeting and watching how they operate and negotiate is a really valuable experience. Neither could they just pop across the office to pose a quick question about an issue that had come up.
Equally, the experienced people didn’t have the opportunity to hear fresh ideas and to be challenged in their long established thinking. Some of the suggestions might have been tried before and failed, but who is to say how things have changed and their time might now have come.
In other words the Chamber of Commerce is actually a forum for everyone in business, young or old, novice or experienced performer. Yes, it’s an organisation with a long history, but don’t confuse that with an institution that’s caught up in the past.
We are a group for everyone who can work together, learn from each other and do business in a way that benefits the whole community by developing the local economy.