The best business advice, opinion, news and expertise in Greater Manchester and further afield.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Friday Blog: Coming soon to a venue near you…..

By Chris Fletcher - Director of Policy and Communications at Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce

Over the last couple of days, I have delivered Action For Business Forums in Bury, Trafford and Rochdale in the first round of the Chamber’s new-look local networking meetings.

Just in case you have missed the news, all the Chamber’s local events, that’s 42 events throughout Greater Manchester, are now included as part of the membership package.

As one of the architects behind the move to this style of meeting designed not only to develop networking opportunities, but to get to grips with what issues are affecting our members, I’ve been really pleased with how things are going. There have been some lively discussions and some really good ideas put forward not just about what businesses want to see from government but how the Chamber can play a part in helping our members come together to support each other and grow in these challenging times.

We are currently running a call for action around what businesses want from the Chancellor in the Autumn Statement, due in December. Ideal material for one of our forums, and our members have certainly not let us down. Suggestions have ranged from closer integration with the Eurozone, to wanting firm commitments on major infrastructure projects - the latter is something we have been unequivocal on in our demands of government.

On the whole it does appear that businesses are keeping positive about the current situation. Indeed several members have specifically requested that we should do more to promote the positive. Something which I hoped we were doing already, but obviously we may need to re-visit this.

The only common negative feeling that I’ve come across has really been the deep rooted sense of frustration with government and other decision-makers. Is this really the best that they can do to help business and promote growth? Going off what our members are saying, efforts so far have fallen way short of expectations. QE is having no impact in the real world; funds to grow are still hard to track down – they do exist via many non-traditional sources, which many businesses are unaware of and the tinkering with planning and legislation is causing more confusion than it is solving.

This is what the forums are all about and why they are needed– they give us the ammunition we need to stand up and say what business needs and wants. As well as that, it also gives me a wealth of stories, ideas and experiences from the fantastic businesses we have as members.

So, if you want to talk business, do business and take action for business, book on to one of our future events here – we have your place reserved already by being a Chamber member and I look forward to seeing you.

If you’re not a member, but want a piece of the action, call our membership team on 0845 6029469.

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