Around this time of year, it is customary for me to do a “state of the nation” presentation to Business Leaders at the annual Christmas dinner.
2016 has been a great year in a number of ways for the Chamber, and with Brexit and the recent election of Donald Trump, it has been an interesting year and will continue to be an interesting few years.
This year, Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce has grown to 60 staff, and has held its biggest ever Expo, its biggest Awards evening, biggest HR Forum and biggest Women’s Business Conference. Our aim (which is on schedule) is to continue to grow our membership as well as the variety of support we can offer to businesses.
Our Chairman, Jim McBride, has led the formation of the Worcestershire Development Group, which will provide funding and mentoring to innovative companies in the early development phase. The Group will consist of 25 business people who will personally contribute, both financially and with their time.
This excellent year has seen many members celebrate some great successes. Five companies were recognised with Queen’s Awards for Enterprise earlier in the year; Kudos Blends, Orchard Valley Foods Limited and Winsted Ltd were recognised for International Trade, whilst Green Lighting and PCA Predict received an award for Innovation.
Five out of seven of the Chamber Business Awards for the West Midlands were given to companies in our region: Bee Lighting Ltd, Gemporia, Vision Labs Limited, RGS Worcester and Waste Spectrum Environmental Limited. Last week, Bee Lighting Ltd were awarded the British Chambers of Commerce “Small Business of the Year” award
, the icing on the cake. Vision Labs were also recognised on the night as the runner up for “Commitment to People Development” – well done also.
As you are aware, I recently announced my planned retirement. The Chamber is in full flow with finding a replacement and we are hoping to be in a position to announce this before Christmas.
In conclusion, I would like to wish you all a happy Christmas with good business in the New Year.
Image Caption: John Carr, Partner Manager at Facebook speaks at the Chamber Expo
Mike began his career in his native North-West, where he was Head of Enterprise at Liverpool John Moores University from 1994-2001. The extensive business engagement experience he gained in that role was enough to earn him the Chief Executive’s position at Greater Manchester BusinessLink (Chamberlink), a company that offered business support across the 10 council authorities that form the Greater Manchester umbrella. In May 2007 Mike was appointed Chief Executive of Herefordshire & Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce.