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2016: a year of opportunities for business


AFTER a fantastic end to 2015 here at the Chamber, we are looking forward to 2016 being a year of opportunities for businesses in Milton Keynes.

So much has happened in the short time since Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce, in conjunction with its sister company Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce, became double award winners at the prestigious national Chamber Awards 2015, organised by the British Chambers of Commerce.

This month Milton Keynes Chamber published the results of its Quarterly Economic Survey for Q4 of 2015 which showed confidence among the borough’s firms remained high in the last quarter of the year.

It is good to hear that companies in Milton Keynes are experiencing strong jobs growth, with both the manufacturing and service sectors reporting an increase in their workforce during the fourth quarter.

And 100% of manufacturers and 92% of service sector companies that took part in the survey stated that their workforce had increased or remained consistent with Q3.

Looking forward, 75% of manufacturing firms are considering hiring more staff this year and 95% of the service sector expect their workforce to increase or remain the same.

Despite this, the majority of businesses across both sectors are still operating below capacity and all the manufacturers admitted they had struggled to recruit suitable staff.

So what does the Chamber have planned for 2016 to support businesses?

As the UK’s official best Chamber of Commerce and holder of Excellence in Membership Services Award, we are continuing our drive to help to build a stronger local economy and are enhancing our offering as a result.

In Milton Keynes, we are a leading provider of international trade support and we are continuing to work with organisations such as UK Trade & Investment to promote events to businesses wishing to extend their international reach.

We held a free seminar Russia – A Renewed Optimism in late January. Run in partnership with Trudos International, it explored for first-time and existing exporters just what the Russian market has to offer.

On February 12 we are running a breakfast seminar Are You Ready for China?

I am also pleased to report that plans are under way for our first Business Exhibition of 2016 which takes place at Novotel Milton Keynes on February 19. The event is free to attend and is open to the whole business community, not just Chamber members.

It is a fantastic chance to showcase the diverse nature of businesses in Milton Keynes and the array of products and services offered by the area’s firms.

Don’t miss this opportunity to build contacts, network and gain knowledge on topical business issues from our Chamber members.

From April, Milton Keynes Chamber will have 13 new scheduled courses added to its training calendar to help businesses upskill their staff and remain competitive. The topics range from managing change, improving negotiating skills and sales for non-sales professionals. More details will be released nearer the time.

Check our training page on the Chamber website www.chambermk.co.uk/training

Let me emphasise that this is only a taster of what is to come as there are many more exciting business support projects on the horizon. So watch out 2016, here we come. 

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