JULY 8 saw us celebrate the second anniversary of Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce – and what an incredible two years we’ve had.

In 24 months we have supported 380 businesses through membership – nearly 15 per cent of the ever-growing Milton Keynes workforce.

We became an accredited Chamber within just 18 months because of our relationship with Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce, giving our members valuable benefits of liaising with British Chambers of Commerce.

That relationship also helped Milton Keynes Chamber to achieve Investors in People Bronze status and give members valuable benefits of liaising with the British Chambers of Commerce.

In two years Milton Keynes Chamber has received 121 calls to our HR and legal support advice lines, helping firms to tackle operational problems with instantly accessible expert knowledge.

More than 250 people have used our Chamber training courses, both scheduled and bespoke, 170 of which were in the last 12 months, and we have hosted 14 free 60 Minute Seminars, run exclusively for and delivered by Chamber members, enabling sharing of knowledge and best practice. These topical seminars are a fantastic opportunity to gain valuable business information, with time to network with fellow members.

We have helped 120 companies with documentation to export worldwide, aiding the shipping of goods with a total value of more than £34 million – which would not have been possible without the international trade service delivered by our sister Northamptonshire Chamber.

In December we launched inbusiness magazine to share member news and promote our training and events offering. We have been delighted with the input from our members. We have supported two deserving charities: MK Gallery and Brain Tumour Research.

Since May 2014 the Chamber has delivered SEMLEP’s Velocity Growth Hub, supporting 240 local businesses, enabling £354,000 of investment into the Milton Keynes economy, and creating or safeguarding 147 jobs to date.

Links with local MPs and national government enabled 20 Milton Keynes Chamber members to join a round table discussion with Shadow Treasury spokesman Lord Adonis when he visited Milton Keynes last year ahead of publication of his paper Mending the Fractured Economy.

Since July 2013 Milton Keynes Chamber has run more than 50 events, including networking breakfasts, lunches and after hours. They have been attended by more than 2,000 people, nearly 1,500 in the past year alone.

Many events are fully booked weeks in advance, often with an extensive waiting list.

Members have also interacted with contacts from further afield through our cross-border networking events with other accredited chambers of commerce.

In February, the inaugural Milton Keynes Chamber Business Exhibition attracted over 300 visitors.

Local media relationships lead to amazing press opportunities for Chamber members such as Carey Pensions UK, which appeared on BBC Newsnight in January following a report which ranked Milton Keynes top in the country for jobs growth.

The Chamber has moved to bigger premises in the same building in Avebury Boulevard. We now have four staff based in the city centre, supported by 15 colleagues at Northamptonshire Chamber.

I would like to thank everyone who has supported Milton Keynes Chamber so far – your confidence in the Chamber has definitely contributed to our tremendous success to date.

I am very proud of all that we have achieved. We are keen to continue to help local firms grow and thrive through the services and support we offer and look forward to engaging with even more businesses in the future. 

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