Monday, 12 April 2010

The Insider

The General Election

Business and the British Chambers of Commerce, have been centre-stage in the early days of the Election campaign. The push to reverse the employer NICs rise has gained ground as a number of high-profile chief executives lent their voices to the debate

We still need the help of our Chamber members, however, so don't forget to sign the petition and encourage others to do the same.

The voice of Chamber members was also heard last week as the first quarter results of the BCC Quarterly Economic Survey were released. Over 5,500 businesses took part - and their responses suggest that a weak recovery is indeed underway, but that it will need to be nurtured by both Ministers and the Bank of England in the weeks and months ahead. Although confidence is strengthening, businesses' investment intentions and cash flow positions remain extremely weak, suggesting that there's some way to go yet to embed the recovery

Your Chance to Grill the Candidates

This Free Hustings Breakfast event at the Burlington Hotel in Folkestone takes place this Thursday 15th April, and is being hosted jointly by Channel Chamber and the FSB (Federation of Small Business).

Chaired by Clive Lawrence (journalist and ex BBC presenter) members will have a unique opportunity to question our local parliamentary candidates before finally deciding which way you vote in the General Election next month.

We have just a few places left, so if you are interested in joining us please email –

Plans for a new M20 junction at Ashford

Details of a key scheme to allow for major economic growth in the Ashford area by increasing capacity on the M20 through Kent have been published by Transport Minister Chris Mole.

The new junction on the M20 (10A – east of the existing Junction 10) will improve journey time reliability and safety for both long distance and local traffic on the M20, a key international route. It will also provide the increased capacity needed to unlock major development and investment in Ashford, including Government plans for 31,000 new homes and 28,000 new jobs in the area by 2031.

Following a public consultation by the Highways Agency, Transport Minister Chris Mole confirmed the planned improvements, to be one-third part funded by the Homes and Communities Agency, which include a roundabout over the M20, link roads and a new crossing for pedestrians and cyclists.

Subject to the completion of statutory processes and confirmation of value for money and funding, the new junction could be open for traffic in 2014/15.

Your help needed

The South East Chambers of Commerce is working with its partners to understand the level of activity and support given to your business in key areas of business support. This is to ensure that you have good access to this support and the services can be shaped to fit your business needs. Please help us by completing these snapshot surveys which will take less than a minute. Your reply will be treated in confidence, in accordance with the Market Research Society Code of Conduct.

To complete the surveys just click on the following links :, for Export and for Business Advice

50 Difficult Questions

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has created a new publication designed especially for small businesses with no specialist equalities/employment law knowledge. This booklet entitled ’50 Difficult Questions’ will help you to answer simple questions, improve your equality practices and direct you to further help if necessary. Copies of this booklet will be available free at each of Channel Chamber’s forthcoming events.

Inspire Young People in Folkestone

Chamber members and businesses in Folkestone are being invited to support the next generation of entrepreneurs by coming along to the Quarterhouse (Tontine Street) on Wednesday 12th May (4 – 5pm).

Attendees will be invited to pass on their knowledge, experience and enthusiasm as ‘mentors with 11-14 year olds who are doing their very first ‘Business Project’.

To find out more about this scheme, and enjoy a coffee and a cake, please telephone

Luxury Serviced Accommodation in the heart of the Creative Quarter by our Chamber Sponsor

One of our Chamber members Quake provides self contained, fully furnished and serviced accommodation available to rent from £230 per week. There is a choice of a 3 bedroom cottage on the harbour with views to France, or a newly renovated one-bedroom maisonette in the Old High Street with a secluded sunny roof terrace. Both properties are decorated and furnished to high standards. Discounts are available for longer lets depending on the level of service required. An additional discount of 10% is offered to all Chamber members. For more details and pictures go to or email Rachel on

Organic Vegetable Cookery Demonstration

Chamber member - Number Eleven in Folkestone have teamed up with Riverford Organic vegetables to bring you an exciting cookery demonstration on Tuesday 27th April from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. Riverford are award winning organic vegetable growers and they run a box scheme in our area. A Riverford Cook, Mark Bader, will be demonstrating easy vegetable based meals using the best of this season's vegetables.

The price is £7.50 per head which includes your first glass of wine, with any profits going to charity. The evening will include sampling the delicious dishes that Mark will be preparing as well as having the chance to chat and hopefully get some useful recipe tips. For tickets please contact Douglas or Frances on 01303 259535 or e-mail Spaces are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.

FAMILY FUN DAY – This Friday

Families across Folkestone are being invited to a fantastic day of thrills and entertainment at the Folkestone Academy (10am – 4pm) this Friday. The event is being hosted by the Shepway Inspiring Communities Programme and the Channel Chamber team will be signing people up to our exciting digital mentoring project.

All Chamber members and their families coming along are guaranteed a great day out with an amazing range of activities including Bungee jumping, trampolining, climbing wall, music, competitions and lots more fun and games.

Are You Ready to Tender?

Tuesday 18th May, 2010 , Kent International Hotel, Harbour Parade, Ramsgate, Kent

Channel Chamber of Commerce is holding a series of workshops to help small businesses qualify for big money contracts. The workshop is being sponsored by the British Standards Institute (BSI) and will be delivered by David Hall, Managing Director of Business Flow UK Limited, and is an introduction to the essential ISO standards.

Kent County Council's Strategic Procurement Manager - John Tunnicliff will also be taking you through the schedule of tenders suitable for SME's during the year ahead.

Andy Wilson Business Development Manager from the British Standards Institute (BSI) will be showing you the way forward, how to certify and the benefits to your business and a Business Link executive will offer practical help and expert advice on how to take full advantage of these opportunities for public sector procurement.

For more information or to book on, please contact Tracy Reynolds on 01303 270022
Member Price: £15+VAT
Non-Member Price: £20+VAT

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