Latest news from the business community

Forging ahead

February’s meeting of Chamber members gave everyone the chance to input ideas to the projects that the Chamber will progress over the next few months.

It was a convivial, lively and very interesting evening with an action plan being agreed for the Chamber which would help to support local businesses and maintain the current vibrancy of the town.

An update on BIDS and the Seafront Development initiated discussion on what members felt should be prioritised for the area and these included progressing the concept of a Town Audit which would provide clear evidence on the attributes of the town and identify projects that would further enhance and sustain the area as the economy and changing patterns of consumer spend continue to challenge all town centres.  Funding would need to be sourced for the Town Audit as, through the Chamber’s membership of Scotland’s Town Partnership, a company had been identified to undertake this work.

It was agreed that the Chamber should take a proactive role in the planning around the implementation of the new Seafront Development, particularly around parking awareness, communication and publicity, including signage, to ensure that impact of the construction phase on the area is minimised.

The Chamber would be represented during the finalisation parking element of the new development as a commitment on this was given at the Hearing at which the Chamber made representation, particularly with regards to coach parking and disabled parking. It was agreed we should request that a senior member of the council’s Economic Development team be asked to attend a members’ meeting for a general discussion on the seafront project including such matters as the fireworks display and the adjacent pier.

The Community Council offered to assist with this and request permission from the voluntary group working on the pier, HSDP, to share their bulletins and this has now been done and regular updates will be given at the monthly Chamber meetings.

Members felt very strongly that future plans for the retail element of the seafront should be vigorously monitored by the Chamber and work on this would begin next month and discussions would continue with the Community Council on the planning issues around the seafront area.

Members also felt that the role of the Chamber should be to keep ahead of the game in respect of local developments and ensure that the voice of commerce was heard during the discussion and planning phase and the monthly meetings would provide a forum for updates on progress and where further action would be productive.

It was agreed too that the Clyde Sea Lochs Trail publication should be financially supported again this year and were pleased to hear that Visit Scotland was about to put this road trail on their website after repeated requests from the Access Trust and since the meeting it has been confirmed that this is well in hand and the route should be featured soon.

This is where the Chamber provides a role in supporting the promotion of the town through the work of voluntary groups many of whom are now members of the Chamber.

Members noted that a number of new members had joined the Chamber in recent weeks and it was hoped they would attend meetings and bring forward ideas which would be beneficial to local commerce.

It was agreed that the Chamber needed to communicate more regularly with members and more help from individual members on this would be welcome including new members joining the Board and assisting with the routine tasks such as a Minute Secretary.

Get in touch if you could give a hand.

Looking to the future - members meeting

The Chamber of Commerce is exploring options for promoting and developing our town to service its businesses and residents.
We’d like to share some of our ideas but most importantly, we would like to hear from our members (old and new) about the vision they have for our town. How would you like to see Helensburgh grow and develop?
Please come along to the members meeting on November 6 at 6.30pm in the Templeton Room (the annex) at the Helensburgh Civic Centre on East Clyde Street and share your ideas, big and small.
Collectively we can make a positive difference to what is already a stunning little town!

The Steering Group for the proposed BID in Helensburgh, held a meeting at the Commodore last week. In response to public pressure expressed at the What BIDs Might Mean For Your Business open meeting on October 2nd, the Steering Group agreed to make last night’s meeting open to the public and the chairman took questions from the audience, everyone got a chance to have their say. Members of the Chamber of Commerce BIDs working group attended the meeting and reported back the following observations.
1. We were surprised by how few of the Steering Group members were present at their own steering group meeting. Approximately 50% turned out for what some would have considered an important meeting.
2. The Steering group for the proposed Helensburgh BID still could not tell us what the proposed BID area is.
3. The Steering Group were unable to provide us with any details concerning their vision of:
a. how a Helensburgh BID would operate
b. how much they plan on taxing each business
c. how the management of the taxes they raise would be executed
d. how they intend to spend the taxes they raise, although a cover over Colquhoun Square, developing the “Helensburgh brand” and more tourist signs on the A82 were presented as some of their thoughts.
4. On a positive note, the Steering group for the proposed Helensburgh BID did agree to a suggestion from the audience, that future steering group meetings would be open to any potentially affected BID tax payer. As the Steering group have not released their proposed BID area, we conclude all businesses in Helensburgh are potentially affected and should attend future meetings.
5. The BID Steering Group also agreed to a suggestion from the audience, that the Steering Group should comprise a mix of individuals who are pro BIDs and critically, against BIDs in order to ensure a more democratic and open approach to the BID consultation process.
6. The Steering Group stated that they had sent out 75 questionnaires to local businesses since their last meeting. A copy of this questionnaire was requested as no one present could confirm that they had received one.
7. The Chamber will maintain its observer role at the meetings of the Steering Group and report back to members.
The Chamber Working Group will continue to disseminate information to all Helensburgh businesses on the work of the BID Steering Group and will continue to be proactive in its work to support businesses in the town without the need for the imposition of a compulsory tax.

Appointment of Members of the Board of Scottish Enterprise

The Cabinet Secretary for Finance, Economy and Fair Work, Derek Mackay MSP, has announced the appointment of Dr Poonam Malik, Dr Sue Paterson and Karthik Subramanya as Members of the Board of Scottish Enterprise.

Dr Poonam Malik is an academic research management leader with extensive experience of working in partnership development within healthcare, industry and academic sectors internationally. She is Director, Innovation & Impact - Science & Technology with the World Health Innovation Summit, CIC, a social Enterprise supporting community and health care organisations. Dr Malik is also an active member of Investing Women Angels, Scotland’s only women Angel Investor Community supporting women entrepreneurs with investment, mentoring and training.

Dr Sue Paterson is an oil and gas professional, with over 35 years’ UK and international experience developed within the industry and consulting, gained in both technical and managerial roles. Her interests now include how the oil and gas sector can transition successfully to a low carbon economy. She is a qualified IoD Chartered Director, and has almost 15 years’ experience as a non-executive board member in the oil, public and voluntary sectors, including Board Chair and expertise in fundraising, risk remuneration and audit. Dr Paterson is fascinated by organisations, and how they can be run well to the benefit of all, and is co- author of the book “The Fear Free Organisation: Vital Insights From Neuroscience to Transform Your Business Culture”

Karthik Subramanya is currently Senior Advisor to Boston Consulting Group, advising senior management of Utilities across Europe and the Middle East on strategy and investments. He is a Non-executive Director of Our Power, an independent energy supplier based in Edinburgh working on alleviating fuel poverty with a very strong social purpose.  Before taking on a portfolio of roles, Mr Subramanya held senior executive roles in Utilities and Banking. He was Director of Strategy and Performance at SSE plc and was also Director of Group Strategy and M&A of Lloyds Banking Group. He has held senior management positions in private equity, management consulting and corporate banking.

The appointments are regulated by the Commissioner for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland.

he imposition of a compulsory tax.

HLAA logo

Welcome to the Helensburgh and Lomond Artisans

We would like to welcome our newest member the Helensburgh and Lomond Artisans Association to the Chamber. This association was set up to help support and benefit crafters and artisans local to Helensburgh and Lomond areas and we are sure that the Chamber willbenefit from their creativity and enthsiasm.