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Reflections from our Policy Executive

Now in my third month as Policy Executive for Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce, it’s an ideal time to reflect on the business and economic landscape as I’ve seen and experienced it so far.

Firstly, thanks must be extended to all the team across Northamptonshire Chamber for welcoming me on board and for sharing their knowledge and expertise of their day-to-day roles, which formed part of my induction programme – positioning me to better serve the regional business community, but more specifically our valued members.

Secondly, my background working for two FTSE 100 listed companies (one at management level), leaders in their respective areas of retail (Home, Fashion and Food) has provided me with invaluable insight into the internal workings of business and the issues they face on daily basis in order to grow and generate jobs including; red-tape; infrastructure; and skills… amongst others.

‘Business engagement is at the core of the Chambers’ role within the business community’

During my previous role as Policy Advisor at Doncaster Chamber I was presented with an excellent opportunity to work alongside local businesses, and gain an understanding of how Chambers of Commerce provide essential support to businesses, helping them overcome barriers to growth and enabling them to realise their full potential. Whilst at Doncaster Chamber, I took on additional responsibilities, including the administration of the Sheffield City Region’s Local Enterprise Partnership Logistics Sector Group (SCR LEP). Priorities for this sector group was to establish a coherent strategy for the logistics sector, which would ultimately feed into the wider SCR LEP growth plan.

Back on the ground here in Northamptonshire, it’s been a pleasure getting out and about meeting businesses – at various networking events and on a one-to-one basis. Business engagement is at the core of the Chambers’ role within the business community, which is why I welcome any opportunity to do this. A special thanks to Northamptonshire Chamber members Ricoh, for allowing me and other local businesses to get a tour of their impressive office space during a Chamber’s afterhours networking event earlier last month – demonstrating what can be achieved through innovation and creativity i.e. cutting costs, improving customer service and enhancing sustainability.

‘I’ve also met, or in the process of meeting with each of the Economic Development officers for each of the seven district and borough councils throughout Northamptonshire’

In addition to meeting businesses, I’ve also met, or in the process of meeting with each of the Economic Development officers for each of the seven district and borough councils throughout Northamptonshire – in addition to both Local Enterprise Partnerships, the South East Midlands Midlands Local Enterprise Partnership (SEMLEP) and Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP). The reasons for this are three-fold;

  • to ensure that the Chamber has the correct relationships with influencers and key decision-makers;
  • to establish ways we can work effectively as partners;
  • and finally to enhance the policy and representation profile of the Chamber, both locally and regionally – with a view to championing the interests of our members.

‘Northamptonshire also has a vibrant and prosperous logistics sector that is pivotal to the growth of the region and a major source of employment’

Similar to Doncaster, Northamptonshire also has a vibrant and prosperous logistics sector that is pivotal to the growth of the region and a major source of employment for the area. It’s primarily for this reason that I’ve put myself forward as the Chamber representative for the Logistics Strategy and Infrastructure and Connectivity boards for the NEP. Furthermore, I’ve also spoken out on BBC Radio Northampton about the importance of continued investment in the region’s road and rail network, both of which are essential for long-term economic growth, as part of the Midlands Connect Initiative.

Importantly, the more information we have about your business the better placed we are to represent your interests throughout the corridors of power, which is why we encourage businesses to respond to consultations and survey requests, especially the Quarterly Economic Survey (the UKs leading private sector business survey).Going forward, I’m eager to engage with the regional business community at every opportunity in order to help maximise the growth potential of the region, helping businesses as they compete for orders both nationally and internationally. Finally, to quote a fictional President from my favourite television series, The West Wing, I’m led to ask myself…what’s next?

Businesses who would like to discuss policy issues can contact Simon on 01604 490490 or visit policy@northants-chamber.co.uk

Author Simon Dishman

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