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Annual General Meeting 25th September 2019

The purpose of the Chamber is to address personal and business needs that ultimately improve the lives of South Africans – achieved through business, investment and trade.

The Chamber provides an opportunity for members to network, to discuss or raise business issues which, if the Chamber cannot resolve, can provide direction to solutions

Achievements for the year have been many. The Chamber held a successful inaugural Gala Dinner at the House of Lords which will be held again in 2020. The Awards Dinner will be held next year at a new location to allow for an increased guest list and reach wider and more diverse groups.

Events were also held in South Africa, a Leadership Master Class Series in London, CPD events, events of personal, historic, political or business interest, summer drinks returned to Millennium House. All were successful and well attended events designed to promote support South Africans, provide networking and create the opportunity for stimulating investment and trade with SA.

Three new developments this year have been the Young Professionals Chapter, in October the launch of the Women’s Forum and the first stage roll out of many UK Regional Chapters.

Communications by the Chamber have reached wider audiences using Social Media to target niche interested groups of people and business, using many platforms, an upgraded website, regular newsletters, prominence in the South African – an online newspaper etc, all designed to raise the profile of the Chamber to the wider community.

The Chamber successfully engaged with the Council for Foreign Chambers and hosted one of the quarterly meetings in 2019, we are working with the British Chambers of Commerce, as well as building close relationships with both country’s High Commissioners, the DTI in London and UK DIT in SA.

The objective for the Chamber is to promote advice, introductions, solutions, services, knowledge and contacts related to SA businesses wanting to trade with or locate to the UK and vice versa.

The Treasurer reported on a successful year with an increase in turnover of 142% with a forecast for increased turnover and gross profit for 2019.

The Chamber does not receive grants or Government support, relying on hardworking volunteers, Board and Advisory Board Members, income from Membership, events and sponsorship.

There is a focus on membership growth and member retention.

The Board has recently doubled in size from 5 (after one retirement due to tenure) to 10 Directors.

Off a sound foundation, with a senior and professional Board, the energy of Exco and clear strategic focus, the Chamber has set it sights high.

The Chamber has created an Advisory Board which currently includes the following business and political leaders in both SA and the UK:

 

EDIT: As of 10/10/19 Chantelé Carrington has retired from the Board of Directors to join the Advisory Board.

After 11 years Directorship, Mike Miller has stepped down from the Board.

The Chairman expressed thanks and gratitude for the contribution he has made to the success of the Chamber.

In recognition of this service he was awarded the highest honour the Chamber can give of an Honorary Membership, received a plaque to commemorate the years of serve and two personalised kitchen gifts for every day enjoyment.

Members voted to re-elect the five existing Directors who all stood for reappointment, for the appointment of five new Non-Executive Directors, three new Exco Members and were notified of the 20 confirmed members of the Advisory Board.

Members showed their appreciation to Sharon Constançon, as Chairman, for her commitment and hard work in growing, running and profiling the Chamber in both SA and UK.

Questions from the floor focused on what is required to generate the income to appoint paid staff members. Two key avenues were debated –

–   More Income
   o More membership income
   o Event income
   o Commerce Centre Income

–   Sponsorship and financial support from Strategic, Platinum and Corporate members for the first year.

Members were challenged to each bring one new member minimum before the end of the year and again repeat this in the new year.

Such members will be recognised and thanked at the next evening event and rewarded with a champagne gift at the ensuing event.

The number of bottles of champagne being relevant to the value of the membership category. Maximum being 12 bottles.

The Chairman thanked all members for attending, members for making the Chamber viable and fun and to those members for their hard work and effort to share the workload.