Shropshire Chamber of Commerce outlined key aims and objectives for the coming year at its annual general meeting.
Around 100 businesspeople gathered at the Mercure Albrighton Hall Hotel near Shrewsbury for the meeting, which was followed by the Chamber’s Christmas lunch.
Members were presented with some of Shropshire Chamber’s headline achievements for 2023 which included:
- More than 214,000 engagements with members
- Nearly 1,500 attendees across 57 events
- A total of 1,400 export documents produced
- 48 networking breakfast clubs held
- 95 training courses delivered
- £373,000 secured to expand training in market towns
President Piran Littleton spoke with chief executive Ruth Ross about some of the Chamber’s key areas for development in 2024. “It’s clear that we have a very exciting year ahead of us,” he said.
Ruth highlighted five key areas for growth, including increasing membership engagement in surveys and research, and growing participation in events by 20%.
“We also want to raise our voices to be better heard in Government, and have created a policy manifesto which we will be launching early in the new year, setting out our goals. We are also going to be running some policy forums so members can help shape our policy work.”
Driving skills development across Shropshire, helping businesses with digital transformation and innovation, and championing sustainability and corporate social responsibility were also named as priorities for 2024.
Ruth said: “We want to generate opportunities for members to connect, share best practices, and build relationships.
“We will also progress our Local Skills Improvement Plan (LSIP) research, obtaining in-depth employer feedback, introduce other opportunities for upskilling and workforce skills enhancement, and foster partnerships with educational institutions.”
Two current Chamber directors – Maisy Owen and Keith Winter - were re-elected at the meeting for new three-year terms.
Maisy runs MO Management Consultancy and joined the board in 2019 with a focus on representing owners of small and medium-sized businesses.
Keith, a consultant at accountancy firm Dyke Yaxley, is a former Shropshire Chamber president who has been a board member since 2009, and chairs the finance committee.
In his financial report, Keith told the meeting that the Chamber has a ‘very strong balance sheet’, with reserves which were among the best in the country for the chambers network.
A raffle which was held at the event raised nearly £700 for Shropshire Mental Health Support, the mental health charity which helps to bridge the gap between illness and independence, and will be celebrating 50 years of service in 2024.
It is one of a number of Shropshire-based charities to have benefited from Chamber fundraising activities this year.