Jim Griffin, chairman of the Rugby branch of the Coventry and Warwickshire, writes about a special event run by the organisation.
First and foremost, a happy New Year to everyone in the Rugby area. I hope 2015 will see the positive business trends continue and, of course, it’s a big year for the sport of rugby too as the World Cup comes to England later in the year.
There is also the small matter of a general election in May.
The chamber is not a party political organisation but clearly what happens in Westminster as well as in councils on a local and regional level has an impact on businesses and, therefore, the chamber’s members.
To that end, the chamber offers a strong voice for business and, whatever the outcome of the election, our members know that we will speak up on their behalf at local, regional and national levels.
Also, ahead of the election we will be holding a hustings event for businesses in Rugby to come along and put questions to Parliamentary candidates for the borough.
It will take place at the offices of my business – Autins – on Thursday, February 5 from 5pm until 6.30pm and already Mark Pawsey, the current MP and Conservative candidate, and Claire Edwards, the Labour candidate, have confirmed their attendance.
This is a great opportunity for business people - whether they are part of small or large organisations - to ensure that their concerns are raised and that those standing for election hear directly from companies.
Over the past five years, we have, as a chamber, worked with Mark Pawsey on a range of issues and have met regularly with him and, whatever happens in May, we would anticipate that we will have the same opportunity to meet with our MP in order to ensure they get to know the issues facing businesses in this area.
Whatever happens in the election, the government is helping to set the conditions for economic growth which helps to give businesses the confidence to invest.
I would urge firms to also make full use of the chamber in order to help them grow over the next 12 months.
There are countless examples of companies being supported with their expansion plans by the chamber – whether it is assisting in accessing grant-funding or helping them to trade overseas.
It’s vital that businesses tap into this very valuable support and also promote themselves through the chamber at networking events, at our expos and through its other channels.
The elections will undoubtedly have an impact on all of us but, by making the most of the support that’s available, 2015 can be a success for our businesses in Rugby and the surrounding area.