My focus over of the last few months has been to grow the Chamber in every way through our membership, events and recognition.
We are delighted to welcome West Lothian College have our newest Premier Partner and plan to work in partnership with them on employability projects in the local area.
In the spring we welcomed Sharon Ritchie to the team as our new Business Development Manager. Since joining us Sharon has done a fantastic job in helping us welcome over 40 new business with more to follow by the end of the year.
Our new membership packages Bronze, Silver and Gold have become a huge success offering our members more flexibility and benefits with their membership and ultimately saving them money.
At the start of the summer we piloted a schools project funded by Mitsubishi. The project involved S3 from Armadale Academy designing and producing a presentation on another use for a heat source pump which Mitsubishi now produce from their Livingston factory. It has proved such a success that we are hoping to run it next in 2015 to all 11 West Lothian high schools.
We have applied for funding on a new project partnered with the WL College and the Working Together committee which includes, Job Centre Plus, Skills Development Scotland, WL Council and Business Gateway. The project is to setup what we are calling at the moment an Employability Boot Camp. The idea is to use Chamber members to hold mock interviews and assess CVs that students have filled in and get feedback from real employers from all sizes of business and sectors.
The Chamber events continue to go from strength to strength, our monthly breakfast meetings are proving to be a great success with the last meeting held at the College having around 50 guests.
Our new quarterly Business Leaders lunches for our Gold and Premier partners have turned into a huge success with our next one being hosted by the MOD at their HQ in Stirling. We plan next year to host a dinner with neighbouring Chambers for our members that attend these lunches.
Our Business Showcase event again saw an increase in stands: we hope to grow further for next year.
Our joint events with Mid and East Lothian Chamber have also proven once again very successful with the last lunch’s speaker coming up from London to discuss the Queen’s Award for Enterprise, which everyone agreed was a very interesting subject and something we intend encourage and all the information needed for you to enter is on our web site.
This year saw the launch of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Business Honours Awards with Sibbald Training, winner of our Best Business Award 2013, being shortlisted for a Business of the Year Award.
This year has also seen Scottish Chambers of Commerce arrange an audience for invited Chamber members with Nick Clegg, David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Alex Salmond all events were a great success and they plan to host after the referendum conferences.
In April we re-launched our Spring Keynote Dinner at Norton House Hotel, with guest speaker Steve Cram and a brilliant night was had by all. It was kindly sponsored by Clydesdale Bank who will also be sponsoring Neil Fachie as the speaker at Business Excellence Awards Dinner in November.
Our financial stability continues to grow and we ended last year with a small surplus of just under £5k. At the end of 2012 we ended with a small deficit so this is an improvement we intend to continue to grow.