Nearly 100 businesses gathered this week at the inaugural annual meeting of West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.
Meeting at a networking lunch in Bradford, firms heard from Redfern Travel’s Mark Bowers how the company had increased turnover five-fold in just two years thanks to exploiting a niche market and grasping the advances of technological innovation. Mark, a member of the Treasury’s taskforce for enterprise, had successfully bid for a government travel contract three years ago and has built the firm’s success on an online model with ground-breaking technology. Despite being handed the award, Mark says that government is, by nature, risk-averse and many of the appeals to change the leopard’s spots have fallen on deaf ears.
The lunch, which followed companies from Bradford, Leeds and York approving the organisation’s financial accounts and election of representatives, also saw Board Chairman Andrew Lindsay present a 50-year service award to Keith Trotter of Cartwright Hardware.
Andrew Lindsay said afterwards: “The event was a cementing of the coming together of three cities and three Chambers. Each area has its own distinct needs and these are respected but the new combined body also facilitates more coming together for networking, sharing ideas and news. It also allows greater celebration of being in business, and I was very pleased that we recognised Keith’s long-standing commitment to the cause at the lunch.”
Bradford Chamber President Paul Mackie was re-elected for a second year of office and confirmed that businesses were now displaying more optimism and confidence about their prospects.
“We’re seeing the city move forward now and we want to keep pushing the pace of change in Bradford. Lobbying, whether at local, regional or national level, continues and the new, bigger Chamber has more power to its elbow to do that,” said Paul. “I’m very proud to have been re-elected to represent Bradford companies – I hope I can justify that backing by helping to produce a better environment for business.”
West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce was created in February when the local Chambers of Bradford, Leeds and York & North Yorkshire merged.