Think you know what a Chamber of Commerce is? Sheffield Chamber interim executive directors Benchmark MD Louisa Harrison-Walker and Counter Context MD Alexis Krachai share the organisation’s role in making Sheffield ‘the best place to start, grow and run a successful and sustainable business’ in 2020 – and beyond

The Chamber of Commerce. It’s irrelevant. It’s a bit old fashioned. Grey men in equally grey suits.

Over the last 156 years these questions and challenges have been thrown at Sheffield Chamber at one time or another. Sometimes the challenges have been fair. Other times not.

Either way, 2020 is a year everything changed. The Chamber started to think meaningfully about the bigger role it must play in making Sheffield a better place to do business.

If a Chamber of Commerce did not exist why would you create one? This is the question our Board and Directors have been thinking about during the pandemic. Our answer is simple. Because no city can thrive without a strong and well-represented business community.

Sheffield Chamber wants Sheffield to be the best place in the UK to locate a successful and sustainable business. Achieving this vision requires real leadership. Some of that leadership can only come from politicians but the business community also has an important role to play. That is why our mission is to lead the way in making Sheffield the best place to start, grow and run a successful and sustainable business.

Leading the way involves delighting our members and growing our membership. We must also articulate a strong and thoughtful business voice to help politicians make the right decisions. We must also be honest. We need to change the perception of the Chamber amongst those who think it is outdated and dusty.

We are building the Chamber of the future. We will not rest until we are the strongest Chamber of Commerce in the UK. We will not rest until every business in Sheffield sees the benefit in joining.

If this seems fanciful or if you are not persuaded – keep an eye on unLTD over the next 12 months. We are teaming up to share some amazing business stories from our members.

Stories you have probably not heard. Stories that will inspire and encourage you. Stories with powerful lessons about the mistakes all of us make in business. We will also be keeping you updated on what is going on behind the scenes as we start to build the strongest Chamber of Commerce in the UK.

There are bound to be ups and downs. Not every adventure is the same.

So, what is a Chamber of Commerce again?

It is a place for dreamers, disruptors, innovators and explorers.

The question is, what are you?