A programme of sweeping changes aimed at revitalising businesses locally and nationally has been unveiled by Birmingham Chamber of Commerce Group.
The plan has been detailed in Growing Business and Jobs - the chamber’s response to the Heseltine Report No Stone Unturned - which advocated a strong and stable, locally-based, private sector business support infrastructure.
The report, which calls for an enhanced role for chambers of commerce, is designed to be included in the response by the Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) to Lord Heseltine’s recommendations.
Jerry Blackett, Birmingham Chamber Group’s chief executive and author of the report, said: “Lord Heseltine’s report describes a national leadership role that only chambers are able to provide to revolutionise the face of business support in the UK and stimulate growth.
“Birmingham is being used as a pilot for the Heseltine recommendations and we await the Government’s response, which is expected to be embodied in or around the Chancellor’s Budget statement on March 20.
The report proposes an integrated package of service content, including a first-stop-shop for all businesses in the LEP area, a new focus of support through business groups and networks including mentoring help and – centrally- a growth promotions service targeting the “broad mass of slow-growers with an appetite or opportunity for growth”.
“We are very clear that this is not chambers as they are but about what they can become,” added Mr Blackett.
“This is about chambers of commerce across the UK changing to meet the needs of the 21st century and Birmingham Chamber is delighted to be leading the redefinition of what being the ‘go to’ organisation for businesses seeking help and advice means for chambers.”
Mr Blackett said the idea was for chambers to be at the centre of a wider group of membership-based business associations and other key stakeholders.
He said: “We hope that our proposals will hit the right spot with GBSLEP and national government because we believe the chamber as an organisation for business and led by business can make a unique contribution to the challenge of growing businesses and jobs.”