Business passion

Caroline Williams, Chief Executive, Norfolk Chamber of Commerce

We talk about passion a great deal at the Chamber.  I strongly believe it is passion that keeps the business community motivated as we face ever increasing challenges.  The responsibility of running a business is pretty mind boggling at times.  Not only are we responsible for the staff we employ, but we also have a responsibility to our suppliers who rely on our business and to our customers as part of their supply chain.

As the economists get their heads around why, when the country is employing more people,  the economy is still not growing, it is up to the Norfolk business community to get our heads around what will help us grow the Norfolk economy and as a result our own businesses.

There are actions we take on a daily basis as an individual business to develop our organisations  and you only have to ask a business person to talk about their business to see their eyes light up and their passion. What is less understood is a business person’s passion for their local area.

I can identify recent examples which demonstrate just this.  Last Thursday our local MPs held an East Anglian Rail Summit in Westminster with the Rail Minister Simon Burns MP.  I had a significant list of businesses willing to give their time and come with me to represent the wider Norfolk business community and ensure the Norfolk business opinion was taken into account.

Although there was in my opinion, too many ‘jam tomorrow’ statements from the Minister, Norfolk Chamber members were able to reiterate that the rail improvements are not only about an improved rail passenger experience but also about business growth and jobs.

I am back in Westminster this week with a different set of businesses as part of delegation led by Norfolk Chamber to meet with the Energy Minister John Hayes MP.  The passion of the energy sector and the supply chain opportunities they give Norfolk are significant and we need to influence his decisions on a number of issues affecting this sector.

My last example relates to the launch of the important Norwich for Jobs campaign, led by Chloe Smith MP, to get more of our young people into jobs.  I took the opportunity of this high profile campaign to capture information from the Norfolk Chamber members as part of our ‘Unlocking the Potential of Norfolk’s young people’ activity.  I received feedback from over 120 individual businesses in less than 48 hours – who says business people are not passionate and engaged.  Later this week 150 businesses, schools and public sector partners are giving their time to attend our MPs event to help find solutions as to how to help develop our young people into quality employees of the future.

Yes as a community we are very busy keeping our businesses moving forward; yes we often have a short attention span for what we see as public sector procrastination; however, as a Norfolk business community, we have a passion for our local area and want to make a difference.

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