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The Independent Voice
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The Townsville Chamber of Commerce?

In a business world that is rapidly evolving, it is essential to stay connected, be informed, and have your voice heard by decision makers. At the Townsville Chamber of Commerce, we embody these principles every day. 

Since our foundation in 1882, we have been at the forefront of fostering the entrepreneurial spirit that continues to thrive today across all pillars of industry in our region. As one of the oldest institutions in the city, we continue to play a pivotal role in helping Townsville continue to develop, grow, and prosper. 

We encourage you to explore this site, join our mailing list and get in touch to see how Townsville Chamber can assist you in your business journey.

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Townsville businesses, organisations and individuals like you from a wide range of industry sectors become members to widen their professional networks, raise their profile, to learn, to be heard and be part or an organisation that supports the Townsville business community.

There are a range of membership benefits across four main levels.  Chamber is the most cost-effective business membership organisations that you can be part of in Townsville.

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14 February 2024 Elevate your business skills

Due to an impressive demand since we announced our partnership with TAFE Queensland, we are happy to announce that we will be hosting a second cohort of TAFE Queensland’s Small Business Solutions program the Certificate IV in Entrepreneurship and New Business (BSB40320) delivered by specialised industry mentorsThe new cohort will start on Wednesday 6 March, with 3 fortnightly sessions and individual mentoring. Numbers are limited so click here to register your interest. Key Highlights of the Course: Accredited Training: Recognise your skills and knowledge with a formal qualification in Certificate IV in Entrepreneurship and New Business (BSB40320). For course details please click here. Business Management Expertise: Tailored for small business owners, start-up leaders, and aspiring entrepreneurs, this program focuses on honing essential business management skills. From financial proficiency to legal and risk management, marketing strategies, and crafting persuasive business proposals, you'll gain a well-rounded foundation. Personalised Mentorship: As a student, you will benefit from the guidance of an experienced mentor from the business community. Through face-to-face or virtual sessions, together you will develop a business plan customised to propel your venture towards success. Fee-Free TAFE: Some or all course costs will be covered by the Australian and Queensland Governments for eligible students. Please refer here for eligibility requirements.  Students who successfully complete this course will have access to ongoing support and mentorship from the Townsville Chamber of Commerce. Spaces are limited, for more information and to secure your place click here

6 February 2024 Who are we and what do we do?

I’m often asked what the Chamber of Commerce is and what we do, and I have come across some confusion recently from surprising places. In the coming weeks you will start to see messaging increase around what we do. In marketing activating your advocates is a key part of building a brand and so as someone close to the Townsville Chamber of Commerce I encourage you Ross to read on and ask us any questions you might have by replying to this email.   THE ELEVATOR PITCH The Townsville Chamber of Commerce is a business membership organisation that for over 141 years has been an independent voice for the business community, to CONNECT, INFORM and ADVOCATE for our members. We bring together local businesses to promote economic growth, provide networking opportunities, business education, and marketing support to help businesses in our region thrive and grow.   TOP 10 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT TOWNSVILLE CHAMBER   Since 1882 we have represented the business community as an INDEPENDENT VOICE advocating on the behalf of our members.  Our almost 400 members are BIG and SMALL BUSINESSES – From multinational businesses right through to sole traders and start-up businesses. We have 3 clear pillars to support our members through CONNECTING, INFORMING and ADVOCATING. We CONNECT MEMBERS by hosting regular networking events, connect businesses with each other when we see common ground and make business introductions. We INFORM and EDUCATE members through regular emails, workshops and events to help elevate members and encourage best practice. We LISTEN to members and are an INDEPENDENT COLLECTIVE VOICE FOR THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY, advocating for policies and initiatives that benefit our members and the overall economic climate in our region. We are NOT GOVERNMENT FUNDED (This surprises people, we are funded by our membership fees) Our members elect a board of businesspeople (volunteers) who hire a CEO and operational team (all paid) to lead and run the organisation. The VOLUNTEER PRESIDENT has a 2-year term, your current President is experienced business professional Miranda Mears. We are a diverse, welcoming, and supportive community that anyone can be part of starting from just $220 +GST. Find out more about membership HERE.   THE HISTORY OF CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE The concept of a Chamber of Commerce is not new, and there are Chambers of Commerce in every corner of the world. We are not officially connected with each other, but we all have the same goal to further the interests of businesses. I have spoken to many other Chamber CEOs already as we have common ground.   The first Chamber of Commerce began in 1599 in Marseilles France with businesses joining together in a mutual effort to increase commerce in Marseilles. The idea caught on across Europe and in 1826 the first Chamber in Australia was formed in Sydney, Brisbane in 1868 and then in 1882 the Townsville Chamber of Commerce was formed. So, before Australia became a nation the Townsville Chamber of Commerce existed.   Things have changed since then, but chambers of commerce still play a crucial role in supporting and strengthening the local business community and economy.

5 January 2024 Start Right Business Course

With almost 50 percent of businesses failing within their first four years the Townsville Chamber of Commerce says that it is crucial for people starting a business to understand the basics, and to help they have created a one-day course. President of the Townsville Chamber of Commerce Miranda Mears says the Chamber is eager to do what they can to ensure new business owners have the best opportunity for success and avoid costly mistakes. “In Queensland we are seeing unprecedented small business closures so if you are thinking of starting a new venture understanding the basics from the outset is critical,” said Mears.  “Innovation can be a buzz word, but for your business to thrive you will need to think strategically about how your business will work and how you will turn a profit,” said Mears. In her volunteer role as President of the Townsville Chamber of Commerce Mears has created and will deliver the inaugural Start Right Business Course, a 1-day program designed to guide participants through the early stages of entrepreneurship and setting participants up for success. “During the course we will go through fundamental topics such as, business structures, compliance requirements and responsibilities of business ownership, financial basics and knowing your numbers, business planning and strategy, marketing, digital strategy, cyber security and more,” said Mears. “Applying for an ABN is the easy part, but things can unravel quickly if the business owner doesn’t have an understanding of business fundamentals, and this course will give people that,” said Mears. “We have limited this opportunity to ensure personalised attention and networking within the group, there will also be a one-on-one mentoring session for each participant, and a full year of membership to the Townsville Chamber of Commerce to help them to connect with the wider business community. “In business having a network that you can connect into as a sounding board, support or collaboration is a powerful tool for business owners this is why we absolutely wanted to include a membership as part of the program. “When I first came to Townsville, I had no business network and the Townsville Chamber of Commerce was my first port of call, so it is my honour and privilege as a volunteer board member and now President to give my time and business expertise to support business owners taking that first big step to help them start right.” The Townsville Chamber of Commerce Start Right Business Course will be held on Wednesday 31st January. Course Overview Business Structures Compliance requirements and responsibilities of business ownership Financial basics and Knowing your numbers Effective Business Planning and Strategy Marketing and Branding Digital Strategy and Cyber Security Balancing Work and Life The importance of Support networks Being Agile and Adaptable in Business For more information and to register CLICK HERE

13 December 2023 What is advocacy and how will it reduce my insurance premiums?

What is advocacy and how will it reduce my insurance premiums...? Since starting this role seven weeks ago many people have asked me what the Chamber does, so I explain our three core pillars - CONNECTING, INFORMING, and ADVOCATING for businesses in our region which often leads to the question - What does advocating mean? Advocacy can be defined as any action that speaks in favour of, recommends, argues for a cause, supports, or defends and pleads on behalf of others. At Chamber we have clear focus areas where we do all the above as the only independent voice of businesses in our region. Reducing red tape - Simplifying processes to enable businesses to thrive with ease. We understand the challenges of navigating bureaucracy, and we're dedicated to making it smoother for businesses to operate, innovate, and grow. Reducing Inequitable Costs - Championing fair economic conditions in regional North Queensland. We strive to level the playing field, reducing costs that disproportionately affect our businesses, and ensuring that every enterprise, regardless of size, has a fair chance to succeed.  Reducing Workforce Challenges - Addressing employment hurdles head-on. From skill shortages to recruitment challenges, we are proactive in finding solutions that help businesses find and retain the talent they need to excel. Raising the Region - Beyond business, we aim to uplift the overall quality of life in Townsville. Tackling social issues like crime and enhancing liveability, particularly in central Flinders Street, is integral to our vision. A thriving community fosters a thriving economy. But how could that reduce my insurance premiums?  Insurance is an area where businesses in Northern Australia are disproportionally impacted with higher premiums that the rest of Australia. Thanks to the tireless advocacy of past CEO Ross McLennan, past Presidents Michele Falconieri and Chris Rockemer, and many others, around reducing insurance premiums the Cyclone Reinsurance Pool Corporation was created in 2022 with a $10 billion guarantee from the Federal Government. The goal is to reduce the cost of insurance premiums in areas at high risk of cyclones by providing reinsurance to insurers. This enables insurers to transfer their risk for cyclones and cyclone-related flood damage for homes, contents, residential strata and small business insurance throughout Australia up to a sum insured of $5m. The Corporation is in a transition phase with 11 insurers currently signed up, and large insurers required to join the pool by the end of this year, while smaller insurers are required to sign up by the end of 2024. We have already heard from members with reduced premiums on residential cover and with the bigger insurers and banks having to sign up this year we hope to see reductions coming through on more local policies in 2024. The ACCC is tasked with monitoring this transition to ensure reductions are passed on by insurers, and to provide a report each year. The second annual report has been issued recently. You can read more about that HERE. Plans for 2024 We are excited about our plans for 2024 and have included a taster below with some of the initiatives that will CONNECT, INFORM, ADVOCATE for you. Chamber Cost of Crime Survey Start Right Business Course for people starting a business or new to business. Have a great weekend Heidi

8 December 2023 TC Jasper | Stay Informed

With Tropical Cyclone Jasper on the radar, it is easy to get caught up in frenzied buying and the “What if” media reports. Remember no one cyclone is the same and they are unpredictable, so it is important to remain informed, prepare your home and ensure you have a business continuity plan in place detailing how you will maintain essential functions during and after a disaster. Our city has been diligently planning and preparing for these types of events, just last month we were part of the Townsville City Council’s Local Area Disaster Management Exercise ‘Exercise Atlantis” which simulated a severe tropical cyclone and the response plan for each agency across a range of different situations. The Local Disaster Coordinator and team are experienced and will be in regular contact with BoM, the District Disaster Management Group and other relevant agencies about TC Jasper over the coming days. We have been advised by the Local Disaster Coordinator that at this stage TC Jasper is still well out to sea and BoM advise it is unlikely that we would receive a “Watch” advice till Sunday afternoon at the earliest. Cyclones as we know can be unpredictable which means accessing trusted accurate information is vitally important. The good news is that Council’s Emergency & Disaster dashboard has been upgraded so that the BoM Cyclone Track Maps are automatically uploaded to the dashboard every time the BoM issues them. We encourage you to check Council’s Emergency & Disaster dashboard for updated trusted information, support friends and neighbours in their preparations, especially if they are new to the area. Have a great weekend Heidi, CEO There is some useful information about Business Continuity planning here >>

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