Chamber fields 1,400 business support enquiries during lockdown year

 

Ian Girling, Dorset Chamber chief executive

LOCKDOWN SUPPORT: Ian Girling, Dorset Chamber chief executive

Dorset Chamber has hailed ‘better days’ ahead in a vote of confidence for local firms when lockdown restrictions end.

In its annual review, the chamber – the county’s voice of business – looks forward to supporting its members and the wider business community as they bounce back from Covid.

The pledge to stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ with businesses comes after the chamber itself underwent rapid transformation during the year – including a complete switch to digital events.

Its annual report also revealed:

  • The Dorset Gateway business support service delivered by the chamber for the Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) fielded 1,400 enquiries in 2020-2021 – 116 per month
  • Some 1,289 people attended 31 digital events over the past year
  • More than 50 videos with information about Covid support were posted online by the chamber
  • The chamber helped 174 businesses export more than £100m worth of goods worldwide despite the pandemic and Brexit

Dorset Chamber chief executive Ian Girling said: “It has been a rollercoaster year which has revealed the best of the brilliant business community in Dorset.

“The chamber is looking ahead with positivity to support its members and the wider business community as we approach the end of this phase of restrictions.

“We will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with businesses as we look forward to better days ahead.”

Dorset Chamber launched its first ever programme of virtual networking events, introduced a groundbreaking new membership model with a digital option and held its acclaimed Peer Networks programme during the year.

It is resuming face-to-face networking in July but will continue to run digital events in a blended programme.

Ian added: “It has been arguably the most challenging year in the chamber’s 72-year history but in many ways it has been a positive and a transformative one too.

“The Chamber has embraced change to end the year in very good shape with excellent member retention and a robust financial position. We’re looking forward with confidence to the next 12 months.”

Dorset Chamber’s year runs from April 1 to March 31.

ENDS