The Committee received a presentation from Carol Squires, who lead Business Development, International Trade and Policy for Surrey Chambers of Commerce. Surrey Chambers of Commerce was one of 53 accredited Chambers in the UK. She informed Members that she worked with a team of ten members to provide services to help ensure that businesses grew in the area.
The Chamber currently had 1,500 members and affiliate members in Surrey. It had an increasing membership and a growing suite of services. The organisation also placed a lot of importance on working in partnerships to help businesses become aware of what support was available. It also placed importance on helping businesses on their journey, from start-ups to the large international companies.
A quarterly economic survey was conducted nationally, with the results released in the quarterly economic report. The results could be drilled down to regional, county and district results, which enabled the assessment of performance against competitors and provided a useful business development tool.
The Chamber’s reputation for networking was recognised, with over 5,000 businesses having walked through its networking events in the last year.
It was reported that there were over 4,200 businesses in Surrey Heath and the Chamber worked closely with the Council’s Economic Development team. Ms Squires noted the importance that was placed on commercial development of Camberley and the work carried out by Collectively Camberley Business Improvement District. The work undertaken by Siemens in local schools was also highlighted as a notable example of partnership work taking place in the borough.
The Committee was informed that in Surrey Heath there was a strong focus on international trade and it was reported that over the last 3 years there had been an increase in exporting activity.
The Committee was informed that 6 years ago the Chamber had worked with Tomlinscote School to launch the country’s first Young Chamber. This had since been copied across the country. It continued to be carried out by Tomliscote School.
It was reported that the programme for start-up businesses, which had been launched in June 2015 using investment from the Council, had been very successful. The Chamber had facilitated 30 fully booked start-up clinics where new businesses had received signposting information, assistance with business plans, and follow up support.
RESOLVED to note the presentation.