Global Reach Boosts Growth For Hampshire Chamber
Hampshire Chamber of Commerce has recorded a ten per cent rise in income from international trade services as member firms seek to leverage global export opportunities.
Reporting on its latest financial year, the Chamber said it had issued nearly 7,000 trade-related documents, mostly for export certification and customs clearance.
At the same time, advice on issues to do with accessing overseas markets has become an increasingly central component of its overall training and webinar activity.
The county’s independent ‘voice of business’ shared the updates at its annual general meeting at the Norton Park Hotel in Sutton Scotney near Winchester.
Attendees also heard that the Chamber’s work on leading the Solent Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP), approved in August 2023, had so far engaged more than 300 employers through workshops, surveys and a stakeholder summit.
Key aims of the LSIP are to address workplace skills gaps and put employers at the heart of the ‘skills agenda’ by strengthening links between businesses and education and training providers.
In his review of the year, Hampshire Chamber’s Chief Executive and Executive Chair Ross McNally told the meeting: “We are continually setting the scene for business success through LSIP activities, growing international trade support and building an accessible peer community of employers that is second to none."
“For firms in Hampshire, the Chamber is the only truly scalable business network on offer, a place with the power to help you start, grow, aspire and lead."
“In the past year we have once again supported our members by ensuring their voice has been heard during the great economic challenges we face, from post-pandemic recovery through constrained supply chains, energy price inflation and skills shortages. This all strengthens our strategic vision to unlock Hampshire’s potential.”
Ross cited various examples of member engagement and events involving the Chamber’s locally based business strategy groups serving Southampton, Rushmoor & Hart, Portsmouth and District, Basingstoke and District, Andover and Winchester.
And he highlighted the Chamber’s specialist groups focused on planning and transport, professional services, creative industries and green innovation.
Ross said: “We are local through our various strategy and specialist groups, regional through our contacts with stakeholder partners such as Solent Freeport and Southampton Airport, national through our accreditation to British Chambers of Commerce and global through being part of the International Chamber of Commerce network."
“A further key focus in the past year has been to strengthen our engagement with the third sector, enabling businesses and charities to connect, work together and develop partnerships for mutual benefit.”
Among other agenda items, the meeting confirmed the re-appointment of Peter Taylor as Chamber President, a role with both an ambassadorial and lobbying remit and the internal function of supporting the Board and providing corporate governance.
The meeting ended with an interactive presentation from guest speaker Bruce M. McKinnon, founder of agency The Brand Arrow, on how to build a brand marketing strategy that effectively demonstrates the ‘point’ of a business.