With many businesses finding trading difficult in the current environment, Shannon Chamber is compiling a series of information seminars, workshops and training events to assist its membership maintain their competitive edge.
This was outlined during the week by chief executive Helen Downes, who also emphasised that the common denominator affecting companies is the cost of doing business.
Speaking at the Chamber’s annual general meeting, Ms Downes warned that SMEs cannot continue to be taxed by local authorities at current levels.
“SMEs are the future of this country and must focus all financial resources on maintaining their own competitiveness and look to provide the much-needed jobs that will assist our economic recovery. The competitiveness of our foreign direct investment companies is equally important,” she said.
“The one common denominator that affects companies is the cost of doing business in Ireland. The Chamber treats this as a priority area for attention and resolution and, having discussed it at board and local authority levels, will also be including it as an item for high priority in its pre-budget 2013 submission to Government.
Our link with Chambers Ireland also gives us an avenue to engage with Government at national level,” she explained
Ms Downes added, “As stated in a recent communication from Chambers Ireland, SMEs cannot continue to be taxed by local authorities at current levels.
Reviewing activities for 2011, Ms Downes reported a high level of engagement with the Chamber’s 200-plus members via its diverse activities, which includes member events, submissions to Government on key issues affecting business, and representations to local and national Government representatives on issues of relevance to and impacting on business.
With a diverse membership representative of many sectors, the Chamber’s events reflected the needs of its members for information, training and guidance in areas such as social media, research and development, revenue audits, developing lean capability, and encouraging female entrepreneurship.
Shannon Airport was given high priority at chamber board level in 2011.
A high-level seminar involving a panel of speakers from the Dublin Airport Authority, Aer Arann, Shannon Development, IDA Ireland, Zimmer Orthopedics and Clare County Council set in motion a discussion that has carried through to 2012 with the chamber’s recent statement on the need for an urgent decision on the future structure for the airport.
A new Shannon HR Forum, sponsored by Career Decisions Ltd, was set up during 2011 to allow HR professionals working in Shannon to share best practice research and thinking in HR and Employment Law. This forum now involves over 15 HR professionals across sectors in the Shannon Region.
Arising from the annual meeting, chamber president Damian Gleeson remains in his position and two new members have been opted onto the board. Eoin Hoctor, a former president of the chamber, has rejoined the board to represent the retail sector and Stephen Keogh, partner, FB Keating Solicitors, will represent the service sector.