Dundee and Angus micro businesses urged to unite for change

28/04/2023
Left to Right: Alison Henderson and Kelly Fairweather

THE FIRST female President of Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce is calling on the region’s micro businesses to come together to ‘ignite change and innovation’ within the local economy.

At last night’s AGM, attended by around 120 members, the Chamber announced a number of new appointments within its Board. Steve Smith stepped down as President, having moved on from his previous role within a Chamber member firm. He will be replaced by former Vice-President Kelly Fairweather, who becomes the Chamber’s first female President.  Kelly owns The Selkie Group, comprising The Selkie, Edna Mae Bakehouse and The Ferry Selkie, which will open shortly. Kelly also owns cleaning company At Your Service and Sox in the City Laundrette.

Meanwhile, Susan McFadyen, Partner at Blackadders Solicitors, will step down as Vice-President. She will be replaced by Lorraine Lemon, Head of Business Development at Dundee Science and fellow Vice-President Kyle Moir, Partner at Thorntons Law.

Two new Directors will also be appointed, Dan Cargill, General Manager at 5G Scotland, and Campbell Archibald, Chairman of CAM Ventures and co-owner of Angus Alchemy.  Manny Baber, General Manager of Hotel Indigo Dundee, will be re-elected for a second term of three years.  

Kelly said: “The business community has endured a constant onslaught of challenges over the last couple of years from rising inflation and energy prices to staff shortages. By pulling together to create a strong voice, I believe we can collectively ignite change and innovation around live business challenges.

“However, we can’t create change within the region if the businesses seeking that change are not part of the conversation.  And while we already have a large proportion of smaller firms in membership, alongside the larger corporate members, we are also here for the sole traders, the independent shops and the farmers who have diversified. We know small businesses are time-stretched and often overwhelmed, but we want them to be in the room, be heard, and express their views and concerns.

“I am also keen to ensure that all businesses can benefit from the huge strides the region is making, whether Tay Cities Deal projects or tapping into the economic benefits of a significant event or development. Let’s ensure that the business community is involved in these important discussions and that all businesses feel the ripple effects of our successes, whether they’re in Dundee city centre or rural Angus.” 

Alison Henderson, CEO of Dundee and Angus Chamber,  added, “As Steve and Susan step down, we would like to thank them for their dedication and commitment to the Chamber over many years.  Similarly, we warmly welcome our new President, Vice-Presidents and Directors. Our vibrant, diverse team share a tremendous set of skills and expertise to help us move forwards as a Chamber and to ensure that the region builds its reputation as a place to invest, do business and make an impact. We are acutely aware of the challenges facing our region and are here to represent businesses in overcoming the hurdles while helping them explore and embrace new opportunities.”

With a current membership of 755, 498 of which are micro businesses (up to 10 staff), the Chamber attracts new members each month, 20 in April 2023 alone.  The Chamber’s vibrant events and training programme is also growing, as are attendance numbers, with various events planned this year, from online talks and workshops to international trade trips to London, social events and networking breakfasts.

The AGM also saw the launch of the DACC App. The first phase of the App, which members are encouraged to join the BETA test group and provide feedback on, will allow members to engage with different aspects of their membership at the touch of a button. Future phases are planned to enhance the member experience more fully.

Alison added, “Just as Covid-19 presented hugely challenging times for our member firms, we are not exempt from the impact as a business.  Our core income streams are membership subscriptions, events and sponsorship of events, all of which were adversely affected over the last three years. Similarly, in the immediate aftermath of Brexit, international trade was impacted with businesses having difficulty exporting and importing goods. However, we have invested significantly in our team, including the appointment of our Chief Operating Officer Laura Rhoney, to ensure that our operations run as efficiently as possible. We will continue to strive for good value and maximum gain for our members within what continue to be highly challenging times.”

For more information, visit www.dundeeandanguschamber.co.uk

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