Latest News | 18 October 2022

Chamber named best in UK at national awards

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East Midlands Chamber is celebrating after securing one of the most significant accolades in business.

The chamber of commerce for Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire was named the UK Chamber of the Year at the annual Chamber Business Awards.

There are 53 accredited chambers of commerce in the UK – but East Midlands Chamber was singled out for supporting businesses to engage with the environmental, social and governance agenda.

Judges said the chamber succeeded in striking a good geographical balance across its membership base, serving more than 4,000 businesses across the three counties.

They said its strength in the areas of diversity and environmental sustainability also stood out as particularly impressive.

Scott Knowles, chief executive of East Midlands Chamber, said: “We are delighted to receive such recognition and this award is testament to the hard work of the whole chamber team over the past few years in supporting businesses through one of the most challenging periods in memory.”

The chamber’s achievements in recent years have included providing a £100,000 membership relief fund during the pandemic and helping almost 1,000 businesses access Covid-19 funds valued at £1.4 million.

It has also supported just over 900 businesses to fill 2,093 placements in the Kickstart Scheme, which created work placements for 16 to 24-year-olds, with 81% of participants securing a job, or returning to further or higher education.

The chamber has led a Digital High Street project supporting 322 retailers to improve their digital offering and supported 700 exporters and 200 importers annually via its international trade service.

And it has established a Sustainable East Midlands initiative to collate practical advice that supports members on their net zero journey, holding 26 events that attracted more than 1,000 delegates in 2021/22.

Scott said: “We have always sought to provide a comprehensive offer in supporting our members through whatever the world throws at us.

“During the Covid-19 pandemic, we pivoted our service online with a focus on business resilience and took advantage of opportunities such as the Kickstart Scheme to become the UK’s biggest gateway provider.

“This approach has continued to evolve within a hybrid delivery model as we seek to help guide members through the important business issues of today and tomorrow – including the rapidly-growing ESG agenda, which comprises a commitment to net zero, a diverse and inclusive workforce, and building relationships with communities.

“As new opportunities come forward, we will continue to be at the forefront in ensuring our members are at the leading edge of new business trends, while flying the flag for the East Midlands in order to help attract new investment and grow our region’s economy.”

Sarah Howard, chair of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “The East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) is an extremely worthy winner of this award.

“The chamber’s commitment to sustainability and net zero ambitions is paving the way for other chambers to follow in the fight against the climate crisis.

“Running a successful and vibrant chamber of commerce, with its members’ interests at the core, is no easy task and I want to congratulate all members of the East Midlands Chamber team for their hard work and dedication.”

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