During the Covid-19 lockdowns, thousands of business owners have relied on peer-to-peer support finding the guidance and advice from fellow business owners integral during the pandemic; motivated by positive conversation with many revealing it’s been crucial to know that other business owners have, and continue to experience similar challenges.

It is a well-known fact that entrepreneurs seek business advice, not from a close family member or friend; but from like-minded business professionals, demonstrating the value of peer to peer working.

Over the weeks and now months of this pandemic, the Black Country Chamber of Commerce Platinum Groups have met regularly, albeit virtually, but across the region and their computer screens, finding strength and support as each one has lead from the front during confusing, worrying and unprecedented times.

“Managing the threat of COVID-19 and sharing best practice throughout has been crucial to everyone in the group,” said Head of Premium Membership, Gail Arnold.


ASSA ABLOY, the global leader in access solutions with 47,000 employees and operations in over 70 countries, were tasked with keeping their critical infrastructure open and operating throughout the pandemic and shared their work with the group in late November.

“At the outset of the pandemic the business immediately put together an Executive Committee, which included many heads of business, to develop our COVID-19 strategy,” said Walsall based, Jamie Cooper UK Group Environment, Health & Safety Manager for Operations for the company.


“As a business we developed our Covid-19 management from a reactive phase right through to where we are currently, which incorporates controls such as an internal track and trace process, on-site controls which are more stringent than Covid-19,” Jamie told the Platinum Group.


And since presenting to the group, Assa Abloy has made changes to their internal processes based on the best practice gained from the expertise within the Platinum Group.


“Being a member of the Platinum Group allows us to understand other businesses and their approach to subjects such as (but not limited to) Covid-19 Pandemic, each session is incredibly interactive, well attended and provides a great way to network,” said Jamie.   

Sentiments echoed by many in the group including Phil Purssey, Managing Director of BT Local in Wolverhampton, he said, “Being a business owner can be challenging at the best of times but during the recent pandemic, challenges are at an all-time high. 


“Being part of the Chamber Platinum Group has been a real benefit, like-minded business leaders coming together, sharing best practice, working together and helping me make informed business decisions, has helped more than I can say.’’


Paul Lawrence from Lawrence Cleaning said, “Being involved in sharing best practice information provides a fantastic workplace ‘library’, which is of immense value.


“As the practices are time and environment-specific, you always get the benefit and importance of such information. These sharing sessions have helped Lawrence Cleaning to build on the processes and success of other like-minded business professionals and their teams to help us provide the best possible service to clients and the best support to our staff at all levels of operation.”

The Platinum Groups provide an exclusive platform for business leaders and senior-level representatives to come together and tackle challenges which impact their organisation and explore opportunities to improve the region’s prospects. Throughout the pandemic, the group has met virtually to discuss and tackle some of the most pressing and important issues businesses have faced in many years.


Meeting regularly, the Platinum Group members benefit from confidential peer-to-peer discussions and learning, the chance to gain perspectives from other sectors and businesses and build long-lasting relationships.

To discuss the Platinum Groups and how membership can help and enhance your business, please contact Gail Arnold, Head of Premium Memberships -  - 07810 377819


The Black Country Chamber of Commerce is reaching out to businesses in Walsall to help understand and shape a regional response to diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

The Black Country Chamber of Commerce is leading a three-phase project which will provide a regional overview of how Walsall businesses are responding to the inclusion agenda and needs of a diverse workforce and community.

Commissioned by Walsall for All and the Department for Work and Pensions, the leading business support organisation is spearheading the project which officially launches at the start of December 2020, set to run through the spring of 2021 and encompasses a comprehensive research project, the delivery of a Walsall Business Diversity and Inclusion Conference and a drive for local businesses to pledge ongoing support to further their work in this vital area.

The first phase of the project will be delivery of research which has been developed and designed by the project’s research partner, the University of Wolverhampton.


Walsall based businesses are being invited to participate in the confidential study to explore how a diverse workforce delivers success and seeks to explore in particular, the needs of women, ethnic minority communities, workers with disabilities and workers over 40 years old.

Neil Anderson, Director of External Affairs at the Black Country Chamber of Commerce said, “The Chamber plays a pivotal role for businesses to better understand how they can respond to many different challenges and opportunities in order to be productive. 

“Diversity and inclusion have been hot topics for many in business for a number of years with many unsure about what they need to do and how they can get it right. 2020 has been an unprecedented year for businesses across many areas with COVID-19, the Black Lives Matters movement and Brexit continuing to shine a spotlight on policies and practices.


Fundamentally, an organisation which is representative of its customers and communities is good for business and this project is designed to help businesses and policymakers further.”

Zara Khan from Walsall for All said, “We are delighted to be working with the Black Country Chamber of Commerce on this project.  Our vision is to create an integrated and empowered community local were individuals from all background celebrate what they have in common. 

“Walsall is an amazing place to live and work and our communities share a desire to ensure that we have a strong and resilient business community which both reflects and celebrates its diversity.  We encourage all businesses in Walsall to get involved and help make the borough one of the best places to do business within the whole West Midlands.”

Professor Nazira Karodia, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Regional Engagement from the University of Wolverhampton added, “It is becoming common acceptance that a diverse and welcoming business can foster creativity, innovation and productivity.


“Our Business School within the Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences are thrilled to be working on the research aspect of this project at a time when equality is never far from the headlines and businesses are looking at organisations such as ours, Walsall for All and the Black Country Chamber of Commerce to understand what more they can do in this area.”

To show their appreciation, eligible businesses participating in the study can enter a prize draw to win one of two funded places at a future Management Development Programme (worth £1,995 + VAT).

For more information and to take part in the research, please visit or email

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