Well, first of all, I can’t quite believe how quick this year has gone. It really has been a whirlwind of events and we’re sure that businesses all over the county are looking forward to a break this Christmas, ready for another busy year as we welcome 2017.
Here at the Chamber, we run a number of initiatives and events which aid us in gathering data regarding many aspects of local businesses.
Through such data and feedback, we are able to analyse common trends and gauge the type of support required to help local businesses succeed. In turn, this enables us to try and fill gaps in the market, provide effective solutions for a range of sectors and ensure our work is reflective of local needs.
Our work is primarily achieved through conducting surveys such as the Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) which is sent to all members at the beginning of every quarter.
All results from the survey are aggregated to form accurate results which are then sent to Downing Street where the results are acknowledged.
At the start of 2016 and just before Brexit came into sharp focus, we received better news for the steel industry locally and felt the impact of the living wage. We were also informed that Lincolnshire’s economic climate was operating at a steady pace.
Cut to the beginning of the referendum and Brexit – the county started to experience some turbulence mainly in the manufacturing sector and trade, in the form of overseas sales which started to decrease. Yet overall, businesses reported a positive upwards trend in turnover – proving that Lincolnshire remained resilient in fairly challenging times.
Despite local businesses taking a hit following the conclusion of the Brexit vote, everything sprang back to life in the next quarter as trade sales rebounded upwards. There was also a 13% increase in the number of businesses saying their operations had improved.
Following the vote to Brexit, a large number of changes took place in Whitehall including the appointment of our new Prime Minister Theresa May, who is now accompanied by a new list of ministerial and government roles heading up different departments including the Department for Work and Pension (DWP) and International Trade.
As such, there still remains a lot of uncertainty regarding our departure from the EU, and hopefully, in 2017, we’ll receive some definitive answers.
At the Chamber, we have held numerous events and training workshops for a large number of businesses and we work hard to ensure there is something relevant for each sector.
This year our summer BBQ was a huge hit and helped the business community develop new contacts over a tasty spread.
Our Construction Steering group was formed and a series of new construction events were initiated on the back with a goal to put more emphasis and focus on this growing sector. These events are held on a monthly basis and continue to be a strong success.
The Select Lincolnshire Awards were a massive highlight this year providing recognition to our billion pound food, farming and hospitality industry which receives nothing but praise and is notable through increased tourist rates.
All in all, it has been a tremendous year.
As many businesses know, we are a not for profit organisation, and therefore every penny that is invested from our members goes straight into developing new support systems, training and events to keep on helping and supporting businesses across Lincolnshire to grow and prosper. So I’d like to say a massive thank you to all our members and wider businesses across the county who continue to be part of the Chamber.
A very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.