BY now, many businesses have heard of the Southern Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SHCCI).
But for those unsure, what exactly is it and why should businesses join?
SHCCI chairman Kurt Newman moved down to the Southern Highlands four years ago, and was approached to join the Bowral Chamber.
He wondered why each town had their own chamber, and began approaching chambers with the idea to amalgamate.
“We tried in 2008 without success, so then we had to try option B,” Mr Newman said.
“We spent the next six months in meetings, and on December 9, 2013, we finally registered the SHCCI.”
Mr Newman said the public, not-for-profit company had the aim of “uniting the business community”.
“Businesses don’t have to share the nuts and bolts details of their company, but it’s about being open-minded working with each other.
“I’ve discovered a lot of calls go on between members after meeting each other.
“I think it’s more productive and enjoyable to share problems and ideas to help each other.”
Mr Newman said there was no one reason why a business or individual should join.
“I ask people ‘what challenges do you face as a business? What problems?’,” he said.
“If we can provide a service, then I’ll tell them why they should join.”
There are two membership options with the SHCCI: full and affiliate.
Membership benefits include: networking opportunities, new customer referrals, access to NSW Business Chamber’s Local Chamber Alliance Porgram, seminars, training, and support.
“We have connections to the NSW Business Chamber, which in turn is connected to the Australian Business Chamber,” Mr Newman said.
“We can go to a local, state and even federal level about a major issues.”
In the end, Mr Newman said the SHCCI was about linking “with other like-minded entities”.
“We help complementary and supplementary services work together, such as accountants with book keepers,” he said.
“It’s about working together, even if you’re competitors, you’ve probably had the same problems and can help each other.”
People have joined the SHCCI for many reasons, such as chances to network, to share discussions with like-minded people, education opportunities and seminars, and people who are new to business to learn about legislation.
“There are around 4000 registered businesses in the Southern Highlands,” Mr Newman said.
“200 business members are registered with us, but my personal goal would be to see that come to 600 so we can represent a reasonable chunk of all businesses”
“I want to make people think more regionally than town-centric.”
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