BKCOB | Tourism | Tourism industry’s road to recovery and evolution
September 28, 2020
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September 28, 2020

BKCOB | From our President | Building a Responsive and Resilient Chamber of Business

As with many businesses in the Border-Kei Region, the BKCOB is finding it increasingly important to change their own business model and move away from fighting fights that will not result in a positive change. It is also important to pivot from traditional activities and rather foster an environment which is collaborative in nature, complimentary to existing efforts, innovative and dynamic, service orientated and very importantly, something that will result in more business for our region.

All nice sentiments, but how do we plan to achieve this?

Well, it starts with strategy and the BKCOB is currently undertaking a strategy review where ideas such as those below will be debated and then prioritised for action. A good starting point is to work with actual data and facts. So naturally, a business intelligence desk would be a very useful way to collect data and then implement targeted efforts to bring about change, which can be measured and monitored. Business data is widely available through Chamber members and affiliates but there is no concerted effort to capture this and turn it into intelligence. What if the Chamber collected and published important trade and business statistics from this area? Would this type of service not only be important for business members, but policy makers, the metro and Provincial Government itself?
A second important step would be to benchmark against global business chambers to see what they offer in terms of services to their members.

The BKCOB has recently accessed such a study and it was found that the chamber could start focusing on services such as:
Skills development and training, particularly in new fields such as digitalisation
Certification and accreditation services
Sourcing of international professionals and specialised subject matter experts
Seminars to cover; international markets, legal and political affairs, customs, etc

Trade identification and facilitation
Business-to-business connections and investment opportunities
Setting up of incoming and outgoing international delegations (COVID permitting!)

Focus must also be placed on developing a strategy which is future proof and therefore the digital space is something that needs to be intertwined into all identified projects and programs. The chamber is already testing an app as well as a retail platform that will allow members to market and sell goods and services to each other as well as the broader community. To give further comfort to our members, it must be noted that the BKCOB has in the past offered many of these services as listed above, which seemed to fall away over time. These services are however being demanded once again and with the move to digitise everything, it’s going to be an interesting journey to try spin up the services but with a modern-day approach.

The most critical thing in forging this new path will be to ensure that it touches the needs and expectations of all our members. There may be aspects that we are missing, or services that we have not yet thought of. If this is the case, I would like to implore members and non-members alike to bring this to our attention so that we can incorporate this thinking into our strategic planning. The idea is to have a facilitated workshop session taking place during the second week of September and a strategy with timelines and dedicate budget allocated shortly thereafter.

We look forward to receiving your support and participation in this endeavour to make sure we build a chamber that is responsive to the needs of the business community, a chamber that assists its respective metro and municipalities to perform better, a chamber that makes the cost and ease of doing business competitive and a chamber that displays resilience during these trying times.