St Helens Chamber is a unique organisation and one of the most successful of its kind in the country. They are one of the largest Chambers in the UK and their market penetration is greater than any other Chamber in the country.
At St Helens Chamber they have moved beyond the typical ‘Chamber of Commerce’ model, and have recognised the role that the private sector can play in the broader community, particularly in an area which has high levels of unemployment and a relatively low business density. They pride ourselves on achieving the highest standards and quality marks include: Investors in People Gold, Ofsted Good, Chamber of the Year 2016 and Matrix Accreditation.
What the judges said:
St Helens Chamber has seen consistent membership growth over the last three years. Supporting over 1000 businesses in their local area this shows an impressive penetration rate of 20%.
In 2015 the Chamber supported the Accredited Chamber of Commerce Network to secure a Government contract worth £800k to deliver Careers Fairs across the UK, providing a new income stream for 35 Chambers of Commerce while strengthening the Young Chamber programme. This year they secured a further £350k for 18 Chambers.
Continuous improvement is at the forefront of their strategy and they have worked with other Chambers in the Network to build their events offering, improve their internal systems and increase retention.
Judges were impressed with the Chamber’s high market penetration and their level of engagement with the rest of the Accredited Chamber of Commerce network.
Why did they enter and what has it done for their business:
We work really hard to provide an excellent service to our Members, and do everything we can to help improve our local economy. Entering these awards gave us the opportunity to have our local success recognised nationally, giving our Board and staff the credit they deserve. We are now able to highlight to our Members, partners and staff that they are part of the best Chamber in the country. For example, we have sent all our Members a window sticker saying “I am a Member of the Chamber of the Year 2016”.
Why would you recommend businesses enter?
Entering these Awards creates a great opportunity to reflect on success and look at your business in a positive light. Even if you don’t win, this creates a lot of positive messages which can be used in other ways.
It provides a great boost for staff, and is invaluable in highlighting to customers that they are dealing with a top quality business!
I would urge Chambers to encourage their Members to enter, and also to enter the ‘Chamber categories’ themselves.