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Suffolk Chamber of Commerce champions the voice of local business
Susanna Heath speaks to the Chairman, Steve Elsom, and the board to find out more about the support network available for businesses in West Suffolk
BUSINESS
  As Chairman, Steve Elsom, has a clear vision. “I want us to heighten the awareness of the services, benefits and features that the Chamber offers and to demonstrate tangible support to our members and the wider business community.We are willing and able to work alongside businesses to ensure that together we can make a difference."
  “Being a member of a club isn’t anything new.” says Steve. "It’s certainly not as popular as it once was, but the growing membership at Suffolk Chamber of Commerce is testament to the fact that if you provide services, benefits and products that are key to business growth, you can ‘buck the trend'."
Suffolk Chamber in West Suffolk provides a voice for businesses and represents the interests of Suffolk in the west of the county. It covers the towns of Bury St Edmunds, Mildenhall, Brandon, Newmarket and Haverhill, across a landscape that boasts a real cross- section of businesses, helping to contribute to the economic success of the county.
Steve adds: “We are seeing an increase in inward investment into West Suffolk. The Chamber is keen to continue its work with the business community and local government to ensure that businesses thrive, create new and stronger local alliances and have their voice heard.”
“Suffolk Chamber membership offers an attractive suite of features and benefits. From our popular networking events, to instant access to legal, HR and health and safety advice, specialist international trade support, through to endless opportunities to promote your business, there really is something for everyone and every business.We are also looking to expand our services further to include training and development
programmes for member employees.” The board enjoys a “local flavour”, with
several well-known business leaders among its membership. “We are extremely lucky to have local business leaders that offer their time and energy to help create a stronger
We asked the Bury-based board members for their views on what Suffolk Chamber membership has meant to their business, and to also describe what being a member of the board has meant to them.
Ian White,
Chief Executive Officer, Becketts
“The Chamber brings together the Suffolk Business community in an environment where you can meet like-minded individuals in a friendly and relaxed environment. As a member, you also know that the Chamber will campaign on the important local issues affecting businesses.”
Laraine Moody,
Vice Principal,
West Suffolk College
“Being a member of the Chamber means that the Eastern College’s Group keeps up to date with the needs of our local businesses and that we are able to respond quickly to employers needs pertaining to skills and education. We have a fantastic relationship with the Chamber team who have offices within West Suffolk College in Bury St Edmunds.
I love being a member of the Board and meeting with like-minded individuals who genuinely care about the role that the Chamber plays in West Suffolk. Everyone is passionate and enthusiastic about business and its role within the local economy – the can-do attitude is both refreshing and positive.”
Jo Kreckler,
Head of External Communications, Greene King
“The Chamber, through its campaigning and representation of business, plays an important
Chamber brand in the west of the county, as well as representing the area in policy groups focused on key topics such as net zero, women in business and transport and infras- tructure.” continues Steve.
role in supporting companies across the county. I love the opportunity to connect with other people who work for businesses in the region. It’s
great to be able to share best practice, talk about challenges but most importantly, have the opportunity to work together to champion and support local businesses in this part of Suffolk.”
Matt Moss,
Managing Director, Smart Garden Offices
“Being part of the Chamber, as a business owner, is like being part of a wider family of like-minded and similar business people. I enjoy networking, finding out what other businesses are doing, how they are dealing with certain business pressures.The opportunity to attend events which are both informative and insightful. Running a business can be lonely, but as part of the Chamber family, you are not alone.
Being a member of the board, getting involved with much more strategic matters, getting an insight to some of the wider challenges, lobbying activities and focus groups, helps significantly in running my business and allows me to have a platform to elevate grass roots issues up to the regional and national network of the Chamber of Commerce.”
Simon Burton,
Director of Eddisons
“We have been longstanding members of Suffolk Chamber. In that time we have seen many benefits to being part of the organisation, from networking with other businesses, to having a platform to discuss important issues facing business. As commercial property consultants, we deal with business from all sectors and being part an organisation dedicated to representing local business at a national level is very important to us. As a member of the board, working with skilled individuals across a number of business sectors, talking to businesses and being able to contribute to specific issues and help influence strategy for the Chamber is greatly rewarding.”
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