Over the course of an average week the Winchester BID offices play host to a merry bunch of additional workers but the official organisation that we share our office space with is the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber represents over 2,000 local businesses and is uniquely placed to address the needs of Hampshire businesses. They are also a valuable partner in the work of Winchester BID notably as one of the organising partners of the Winchester Business Excellence Awards.
Joining a membership organisation often provides a great range of opportunities, so much so that many members never manage to take full advantage of what is on offer. Networking is often cited as one of the most valuable elements of Hampshire Chamber of Commerce membership and the great range of pure networking sessions that take place across the year do make a strong case for this but there are many more elements of chamber membership to get involved with such as discounted training courses throughout the year, free editorial in the Chamber Business News magazine, connections to other chambers of commerce across the country and indeed across the world and the ability to attend exclusive events such as this week’s breakfast meeting with Steve Brine MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford co-ordinated by Winchester BID and Hampshire Chamber of Commerce. As the Chamber themselves put it, ‘To grow, business needs good people, systems and finance, and through its range of support packages Hampshire Chamber of Commerce provides this help.’
Sometimes the small business owners that rent desks here in the Winchester Business Centre choose to join the Federation of Small Businesses which is also a national organisation with a network of local chapters. As the name suggests the FSB is a body which specifically addresses the needs and concerns of smaller businesses dealing with issues such as legal concerns. The FSB also runs a entrepreneur mentoring programme and the organisation is a forum through which many local business owners are able to meet like-minded entrepreneurs.
Joining a membership organisation is an idea often pushed to the back of business owners minds, especially when considering the costs involved but with Hampshire Chamber membership starting at just £100 + VAT for the year and Federation of Small Business membership starting at £155 + VAT the various benefits of such institutions are more affordable than you might think. You can find out more about the work of the Hampshire Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses by visiting their websites.