PROSPER MAGAZINE: DIGITAL EDITION
BUSINESS IS DONE BETTER TOGETHER
A NOTE FROM THE PRESIDENT
As I write this and reflect, firstly I have to say what a year to step into the role of Chamber President. When I took over the position neither I nor any of my fellow Chamber colleagues could have predicted what 2020 had in store.
If I had known, would I have taken up the position? Absolutely!
I have been encouraged and constantly amazed by the resilience demonstrated by so many businesses across the region as they have adapted to this pandemic.
Without time to plan, businesses and organisations have effectively made changes to how they work in order to try and carry on with as much normality as possible.
As MD of an IT company, I am really proud of my own team and how they have worked continually to help and support our customers and other local businesses, ensuring they have the technology their business needs to carry on operating.
The Chamber has also run some fantastic workshops and online forums offering advice to its members, ensuring we all continue to work better together.
Going back 12 months I recall being interviewed as I took on the role of President, two of the questions stick in my mind.
The first being, give us an insight into your work with the Chamber and what areas of the business you will focus on over the next two years?
Part of my answer to this was ‘the region has so much going on but there are some fundamentals I want to concentrate on.’
We still need to improve transportation across the region and hopefully, I will be able to help promote what is starting to form as a new way forward.
I think businesses need to see some light at the end of the tunnel and an understanding that things are improving and things will change.
As part of my commitment, I also took on the role as Chair of the Sandwell Council’s Towns Funder super board, a responsibility that has taken up a lot of time but has given me a full insight to the improvements that could be made in Rowley Regis, Smethwick and West Bromwich.
I’ve agreed to stay on board with them for the full 5 years to see the project through, something that will long continue once my role here is finished.
The second question was - who or what inspires you?
To which I replied, ‘The people I meet every day, I get so inspired by other people’s enthusiasm for their own goals and I love working with our customers to help them achieve what they need to get to the next level in their business’.
This sentence really strikes a chord with me after the last 9 months we have all endured, for me personally working through customer’s issues to get them in a position where they can successfully run their business at home, has genuinely helped and inspired me to keep positive and carry on, irrespective of the challenges thrown my way.
So, I am looking forward to my second year as President and any challenges it may bring?.
My company, CSCM has been the IT Patron for the Chamber since 2018, and we will continue to work closely with the team in 2021, enjoying the connections this brings with other local business owners in the Black Country.
Hopefully, it will be easier than 2020, however, I have a strong team at CSCM to support me and a great support network with the Chamber.
CHAMBERS AND WMCA STEP UP BREXIT SUPPORT
In recent weeks, the Government has launched a campaign reminding firms to make sure they are not caught out by trade rules ahead of the January 1st deadline.
The campaign, entitled ‘Time Is Running Out’, is the Government calling on businesses to prepare and be ready for changed procedures, visa or work permit requirements and to prepare for the new immigration system, check qualifications remain valid to provide services within the EU and ensure personal data can still be received from European countries.
But the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) have said that many firms are facing a string of unanswered questions about the changes.
In a statement from BCC Director General, Adam Marshall, he said, "Facing the triple threat of a resurgent coronavirus, tightening restrictions and a disorderly end to the transition period, it is little wonder businesses are struggling to prepare.
"Many firms will be tired of posturing, cliff edges and deadlines, while others are still grappling with fundamental challenges as a result of the pandemic."
He continued, "More businesses will undoubtedly step up preparations for change over the coming weeks, but many are still facing unanswered Brexit questions that have a big impact on their day to day operations.
"A UK-EU deal is still both possible and critically important. No matter what happens, businesses will have to change. But we need a deal that supports businesses and jobs, and final clarity over what changes they must make."
Meanwhile, the Black Country Chamber of Commerce, Regional Chambers of Commerce and the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) have stepped up their FREE support to help businesses prepare.
The WMCA, Black Country Chamber of Commerce (BCCC), Coventry & Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce (C&WCC) and the Greater Birmingham Chambers of Commerce (GBCC), are working together to scale up existing support.
The programme, available now and up to February 2021, gives local businesses access to:
• Fully funded places on a choice of 24 accredited and non-accredited high-quality international trade-focused training courses (worth c.£200+VAT per delegate per course)
• 15 free webinars featuring guest experts on all aspects of preparing for 2021, including intellectual property, data protection and immigration
• One-to-one support with customs and export documentation-related queries
• Digital resources, including business briefings, checklists and videos on key topics
To find out more about the support available, get in touch with the Chamber Policy team via email email@example.com or telephone 0330 024 0820
PARTNERSHIP BRINGS SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES ESSENTIALS
Members of the Black Country Chamber of Commerce have been taking advantage of a package of support measures in recent months after the Chamber joined forces with Quest Cover.
Launched in April, in collaboration with Quest and available free of charge for members, the partnership provides Chamber members with vital support and expertise from integrated resource consultants who provide a complete package of resource and support materials crucial for every business.
Quest gives Chamber members access to an extensive document library with almost 800 downloadable documents that can be used in their business and members have access to a range of essential support services and savings including:
• CHAMBER HR: focused on HR and employment law support
• CHAMBER LEGAL: commercial legal support and levels of cover
• CHAMBER TAX: expert support to answer your questions and resolve issues
• CHAMBER HEALTH AND SAFETY: support to help you operate safely and remain compliant
An advice line, knowledge hub, newsroom and a legal expenses insurance cover are all included as part of the cover.
All Black Country Chamber members are also entitled to a free one to one review.
Quest are the exclusive British Chambers of Commerce recommended provider to the UK network and currently partner with 51 Chambers supporting over 42,000 members.
The value of services used by members in 2019 was a staggering £1,900,235.
If you require any support or would like to know more, please contact our Membership Team via firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Chamber website for further information at blackcountrychamber.co.uk