The following article first appeared in the Suffolk Chamber of Commerce Winter 2019 edition of Chamber Voice. It is reproduced here by kind permission of Suffolk Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber interview: In the latest of a series of Q&As about different parts of the Suffolk Chamber family, we put some key questions to Simon Burton, the new chair of Suffolk Chamber in Bury St Edmunds.
Q: What is Suffolk Chamber in Bury St Edmunds’ remit?
Our remit is to support and benefit businesses in our local area in a number of ways, including:
• Providing networking opportunities and events with interesting speakers on a variety of topics
• Giving businesses a voice and an ability to share any issues or concerns that are impacting them and then funnelling this into local and national government
- Supporting and delivering campaigns to improve the business environment and make doing business easier
• Promoting Suffolk and in particular Bury St Edmunds as a viable and attractive business destination
• Providing member benefits and advice through Suffolk Chamber.
Q: What is the role of your board?
As chair my role is varied, but the primary function is to assist with co-ordinating and assisting other board members in delivering our manifesto.
More directly this involves representing the other board members and Suffolk Chamber at meetings and chairing networking and speaker events. In addition, I have the responsibility to shape and steer the board to provide the right expertise and feedback to deliver on our manifesto targets to improve the local environment for business.
Q: How challenging has this remit been to deliver?
There are challenges with such a wide variety of issues, and indeed in a county with such a large geographical spread. That being said, we benefit hugely from the passion of local businesses and how prepared they are to engage and lend their support to our campaigns and events.
Q: What do you hope to achieve during your term as chair?
The main aim has to be making Bury St Edmunds an easier place to both attract and allow businesses to thrive. Other than that, I want to continue to do the good work done before me in creating a strong board from a number of industry backgrounds as well as increasing awareness of the great work that Suffolk Chamber does and the benefits that are available to members.
Q: How has Suffolk Chamber in Bury St Edmunds approached its lobbying campaigns?
Through working closely with local government, utilities providers, major employers and other stakeholders as well as putting on numerous events to both make businesses aware of campaigns and giving them a voice and feeding that message and data back to local and central government.
Q: How does Suffolk Chamber in Bury St Edmunds benefit from being part of Suffolk Chamber?
Being part of Suffolk Chamber has enabled us to concentrate on delivering our aims, with the additional administrative and background support, not to mention delivering excellent events and speakers through a dedicated events team.
Q: What one thing would you like Suffolk Chamber in Bury St Edmunds to do differently or more of?
I would personally like to see an increase in the number of networking events, both formal and informal, and a stronger engagement with smaller businesses.
For more information about Barker Storey Matthews in Suffolk, contact Simon Burton, firstname.lastname@example.org.