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Chamber plans for a new era
A MOVE to new offices in Central Milton Keynes marks the start of a new era for Milton Keynes & North Bucks Chamber of Commerce.
The organisation is to open its new base in Silbury Court at the end of this month. A business plan and budget has been approved by its board and chief executive Colin Fox is looking to put a turbulent recent past behind the Chamber as it prepares to focus on the issues facing its 750 members.
Mr Fox (pictured) said: “The plan puts our membership at the heart of our business.”
The plan focuses on five key areas: membership benefits, business-focused events, training, business support and lobbying but will also work to help companies looking to expand overseas.The Chamber’s export documentation work grew by 15% last year.
“That means companies are exploring new markets overseas and we need to be providing them with practical assistance,” Mr Fox said.
The Chamber has not renewed its membership of the World Trade Center Association, which aimed to link cities around the world.
Mr Fox said: “The World Trade Center Association diluted the Chamber’s brand and was a drain on resources and focus. I want to grow the Chamber’s international business as the Chamber.”
The organisation is now on a more sound financial footing, Mr Fox added. “Financially, we are more stable but we are not out of the woods yet. We have made some management changes which means that the management information is better and the bank have been very supportive of what we are trying to do.”
The annual Business Excellence Awards have been postponed until February and will be in a different format, with an independent judging panel headed by senior figures at Cranfield University.
“We want to make the judging a much more transparent process,” Mr Fox said.
The Chamber aims to increase its membership to 950 by March and is planning to work more closely with businesses outside Milton Keynes in North Bucks, particularly in Buckingham where Mr Fox is forging closer links with the Buckingham Business Club. He is due to speak at the club's monthly networking lunch at the end of May www.buckinghambusinessclub.co.uk
Mr Fox said: “There is a real business opportunity here and a requirement in the market for a strong active Chamber. I am really positive about the future.”