No-one is going to forget 2020 in a hurry. The business community has had to completely reinvent ways of trading, and staying connected.

As usual, though, Shropshire has risen to the challenge, showing the sort of innovation and determination which helps us to consistently punch above our weight.

At Shropshire Chamber, we have laid on a staggering 237 zoom meetings since the start of lockdown, engaging with approximately 3127 delegates helping them network, and stay in the know – but we’re certainly not resting on our laurels.

We’ve reshaped our membership model too, reflecting the differing needs of businesses. One of our newest offers is a Corporate level, aimed at senior managers and directors, and we’re delighted to welcome Reech from Shrewsbury, and Apogee of Telford, as the newest recruits.

One of Shropshire Chamber’s most important initiatives right now is to act as a ‘gateway’ for the Government’s new Kickstart scheme.

The £2 billion fund is seeking to create high quality six-month work placements for people aged 16-24 who are claiming Universal Credit and at risk of long-term unemployment.

And we’re off to a great start. The Chamber has already engaged with more than 185 local businesses, helping to create nearly 472 job opportunities.

We’ve found jobs for administrators, marketing assistants, carers, kitchen assistants, animal carers, research assistants, and many more, and interest is being shown from a variety of different sectors, from manufacturing to professional services, hospitality to social care, car garages and showrooms, and engineering.

The scheme is open to businesses of all sizes, and placements should support the participants to develop the skills and experience they need to find work after completing the scheme.

The Government funds 100% of the relevant National Minimum Wage for 25 hours a week, plus associated employer National Insurance contributions and employer minimum automatic enrolment contributions.

Shropshire businesses taking on a Kickstart candidate can also apply for £1,500 per job placement available to cover their setup costs, support and training.

Anyone wanting to find out more can register at www.shropshire-chamber.co.uk/kickstart-scheme. More information is available by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Last, but certainly not least, we’re also getting ready to reveal the winners in 20th edition of our annual Shropshire Chamber Business Awards.

It’s all very different this year, thanks to Covid-19. Our original plans for a huge gathering at Telford’s International Centre have switched to a ‘virtual’ awards ceremony, which will be live streamed from studios in Shrewsbury on Friday, November 20.

The shortlisting process for the 10 categories, including our showpiece Company of the Year trophy, is currently under way. To find out how you can tune in and get involved, see www.shropshirebusinessawards.co.uk