Considering WHY the Chamber produces a members’ business magazine takes me back to the day of my interview as I optimistically applied for the vacant position of Executive Director in 1999 – hoping to move from the Chambers Regional Director, to that of the Executive Director. Inevitable questions in the interview took us back to the media representation and how Chamber will assert its relevance in society and amongst business. My response amongst a number of strategies, was to suggest that the Hi-Lite in its present form of an 8 page blue and white tabloid – to a full colour, 48 page business magazine, would be essential to the next phase. History indicates that I got the job and I have delivered on my undertaking. Since 1999 over 200 issues of high quality – full colour issues have been produced. We have profiled captains of commerce and industry, leaders in society and most importantly, provided a platform for our members to show-case themselves and their business. So many excellent articles and informative columns came from the publication. My thanks particularly to the Publishers, that faithfully produced those 200+ magazines – on a deal that was unique and creative in its thinking and execution. To the Editors that worked with the Hi-Lite Committee, to balance between industry standards, and Chamber’s goal to be a mouthpiece for our slogan, “Your Voice of Business.” We have regrettably also felt the pressures of a failing economy and members re-setting priorities to marginalise advertising. The lock-down has decimated recovery plans and directed Chamber to take the decision to skip the fourth edition of 2020. This issue therefore will be my last one as I will be retiring after a six-month extension set in June, searching for the next ED.
We pray that members are well and surviving. The term surviving extends to more that just wellness, or economic agility. It also reflects on how we have managed the progression from Lock-down Level V to the present Level II. Some have (but by no means all) been successful in their claims for relief mostly through sheer perseverance, and being smart. Others however have just not even progressed past registering for relief. It has been a test of diligence, perseverance and even luck. Chamber continue to advocate seeking high level support and advice, including consulting business advisors. We recognize and salute Global Business Solutions most notably their MD, who has been tireless in stamping / enforcing the business message, in all negotiations and representation. Thank you, Johnny, and the Global Team. Some members have noticed and participated in our own weekly Connect with the Chamber, a virtual series of expert sessions – offering and advising on a range of topics from Wellness to unpacking the new POPIA Act. We will continue to hold these sessions available, our goal being every Thursday at 11h30 via Zoom, to readers and invite enquiries in this regard.
Dear Colleagues, there is a time for all seasons, and Spring brings new promises and hopefully budding opportunities for new and emerging enterprise. I am reminded by the quote from Jack Welch, “Change before you have to!” In this issue we refer to shOt, an online sellers and shoppers’ platform – and the benefits selling online brings. We are also discussing other business partnerships in education, enterprise development, events and functions. Additionally, we are connecting with a number of Consulates to promote greater Trade with South Africa, ranging from the USA – to Zambia. We invite you to stay connected, and learn more.
This is my last letter to you, and it has been a privileged to be in a leadership role with Chamber since 1992. Thank you everyone, for the encouragement, support and help during my tenure. I leave wiser, and inspired that there is still a huge role the Border-Kei Chamber of Business can, and must play. I hope I have helped you all, in small or great ways?