Although we are entering January, it’s still not too late to reflect back on 2013.
The year 2013 will be remembered as one of great opportunities and renewed optimism.
While it has started out as yet another challenging year for trading, 2013 ended with more Northamptonshire companies showing confidence in the economy, firms recruiting further and businesses increasing their export activity.
“We have continued our strategy of investment to strengthen our operations”
At Northamptonshire Chamber, we have continued our strategy of investment to strengthen our operations. Looking back, by January 2013 the Chamber had relocated from its former home in Moulton Park to a new office in Waterside Way.
We also completed a refresh of the brand to give the Chamber a modern and vibrant direction to complement our growing offering and implemented a staff restructure to better support the needs of our members.
In February Northamptonshire Chamber stepped into support members of the wider accredited Chamber network when Milton Keynes and North Bucks Chamber ceased trading allowing us to immediately offer its International Trade service to process export documentation.
It’s hard to believe that in such a short time – five months to be exact– that Northamptonshire Chamber would become responsible for establishing a chamber in the Milton Keynes territory after winning a tender process by the British Chambers of Commerce.
Then in November, recognising cross-border opportunities, we launched our Dual Membership package allowing Northamptonshire Chamber members to a 75 percent discount off their membership fees to the second Chamber in Milton Keynes.
To date, our investment continued with Northamptonshire Chamber launching its own mobile app for businesses on the move.
“More businesses are turning to us for our training programme”
I am also delighted to announce that more businesses are turning to us for our training programme which is delivered by local training professions. There has been a 34 percent increase in the companies using us in the 2013/14 financial year to November end, compared to the prior year.
In the same period our International Trade team has processed 20 per cent more export paperwork – that’s 9,992 documents issued to enable £190.1 million of goods to be shipped abroad.
In conclusion, 2013 has been a year of investment illustrated by the stream of activity from Northamptonshire Chamber and an award-winning year for our members.
Whittlebury Hall Hotel & Spa were crowned double winners in the East Midlands stage in the Chamber Awards securing the Sustainability Award for the second consecutive year and the Marketing Campaign of the Year.
Meanwhile Chamber members walked away with nearly half of the categories in the 23rd Northamptonshire Business Excellence Awards.
So what of 2014? For the next 12 months we look forward to a year of growth as we continue this momentum.
We wish all of our members and partners a prosperous year ahead.