Q1. As a not-for-profit, the BDCC is 100% democratic, but to do this, it has to have committees, meetings and minutes. Why is this level of democracy so essential, and what are its benefits?
It would not run without its committees and officers, all of whom are voluntary; any member can volunteer to join the committee and are welcome. The expertise of the current committee is wide and covers a number of industrial sectors which also allows us to support local community events.
Q2. The very name Chamber of Commerce is steeped in tradition. Why should new members consider joining and see this tradition as a positive?
The British Chamber of Commerce represents all businesses to the government and other non-governmental bodies. It is heard by them, as there is definitely strength in numbers. The local Chamber is respected as part of the whole and consequently has a voice in local decision-making. Members can ask for representation to be made and are not a voice in the wilderness.
Q3. The Chamber seems unusual when you look around at other networking organisations as it has such a wide range of businesses involved. What have you seen as the benefit of networking between business types and sizes?
Because it has a large range of members, many of whom are well known to one another, there is a good deal of business done between the members. Consequently, the diversity of membership is a strength as members can relate to others when they are looking for services and/or products.
Q4. The structure of the monthly breakfasts and lunches can look formulaic in the photos. What would you say to someone who thinks the events look boring, and how would you convince a shy person who doesn’t want to take advantage of the elevator pitch opportunity that it’s still a great idea to join?
Perhaps we need to encourage dress down Friday and make the meetings more relaxed. No member has to do an elevator pitch (although we do not have them at the lunches), if they don’t want too. In both, the pre-meal introductions and general inter-mingling can be of great value.
As Donne said “No man is an island”
Q5. The Chamber supports local charities as well as organisations seen by the committee as working in such a way as to benefit the whole local community. Can you tell us why you do this?
The Chamber supports training and education for all sectors of our community, especially those aimed at young people as they are the future. Therefore, we support any initiative that is educational, both within primary schools and initiatives aimed at learning, such as book fairs like the kids book fair run by member Berkofest. The Chamber also sponsors the Young Enterprise programme in Hertfordshire and the Fiver challenge for Primary Schools.