It’s that time of year again when we look back to the triumphs and tribulations of the past and raise a toast to the opportunities of the future. And from where we’re sitting, there’s much to report on from 2021 and much to get to grips with in 2022 – so, let’s take a look at times past and the year ahead of us!
Challenges were never very far away in 2021. The economy has still been reeling from the impact of COVID, and local businesses have needed more help than ever before to weather the disruption.
At the same time, however, adversity often brings opportunity, and our job in 2021, as ever, was also to help local businesses seize the day.
Genuine engagement, quality outcomes
In 2021, we worked with over 2,000 businesses across Bedfordshire, delivering advice and guidance on everything from import and export, to accountancy and tax, to funding sources, and much more besides.
We trained over 260 businesspeople to successfully navigate the changes caused by Brexit, engaged over 1,000 participants in webinars and virtual events, and helped members secure hundreds and thousands of pounds to take their businesses to the next level.
At the same time, we were delighted to be able to support new employment opportunities for younger people through our management of the Government’s Kickstart scheme, which fully subsidises businesses to take on younger workers. We successfully placed over 200 young people in employment in the county in
As businesspeople ourselves, we are acutely aware that success must be measured by results, and in addition to the positive story told by the figures above, we also continued to be one of the leading Chambers for member retention in the British Chambers of Commerce network in 2021.
A fitting end to a frenetic year!
Doing what we do best, and more of it
Of course, the future is about ensuring we continue to deliver on what works, but it’s also about expanding the ways in which we can help businesses to step up to the mark in a world and an economy that is rapidly changing.
International trade, for example, will feature heavily in our programme in 2022, building on the success of the global trade resources we have incorporated into the website
We will put funded support in place to help local businesses trade internationally and overcome the barriers to importing
This will include a full-service import and export declaration service to reduce the administrative burden on businesses that trade internationally, and ensure goods are kept moving viably and profitably.
But it will also harness our connections in the overseas Chamber network to connect local businesses to further international opportunities.
As we help businesses take advantage of new opportunities, however, we also have a duty to guide them through new regulations, obligations, and compliance requirements.
Accordingly, 2022 will see us working on a partnership to help members navigate their journey to net zero carbon emissions, and ensure their businesses work towards
This is not only for reasons of environmental responsibility and legality, but because sustainable credentials are increasingly influencing where and how both buyers and investors spend their money.
Upping our game
The New Year is a time for reinvigoration and action, and that’s precisely what we will be delivering
Aside from relaunching our manifesto to make some important new commitments and further reinforce those we already champion, we’ll be growing and strengthening our events programme to bring both networking and learning opportunities to a wider audience, more frequently, and this will play strongly into our stated aim of continuing the great success of the member-to-member connections that are such a fundamental part of the value we bring to those who use
Looking outwards to the wider world, we will continue to engage at the heart of Government to ensure local, regional, and national business voices are heard. In a time of readjustment and reconstruction, ensuring our members’ interests are strongly represented is critical to preventing them from being lost in the noise.
A better future? You’re in business!
That was the year that was, goes the saying – but it’s equally widely acknowledged that nobody has a crystal ball.
As we leave the past year behind, we must learn our lessons from it, and plan to do better in 2022. This is precisely what we have done – and we’re ready to face up to the challenges and opportunities that await us.
Next stop: 2022!
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