Chairperson Report – 2021 AGM

Oct 22 / Michael Schubert
As I look back over the past year, I can’t help but note the progress gained with our membership, advocacy, and place branding. The voice of Business Victor Harbor has never been stronger.

It’s now been almost a year since Business Victor Harbor was able to secure $100,000 of grant funding from the City of Victor Harbor differential rate on industrial and commercial businesses.

I am also pleased to announce that a forward funding proposal will be before Council at their October meeting, and we trust this will result in ongoing funding of $100,000 a year for the next 3 years.

18 months ago, Business Victor Harbor established a solid relationship with Business SA, and with a funding partnership with the City of Victor Harbor, we were able to provide 1 year of complimentary Business SA membership for our valued members, to provide support and assistance during unprecedented times.

Whilst the 12 months of complimentary membership with Business SA has now come to an end, Business Victor Harbor now offers a range of new and exclusive membership tiers.

You can find out more information on our website and our upcoming member newsletter, and the Business SA team has also started reaching out to members for renewal.

This means that if you renew your membership with Business SA on the SME plan or above, you will get dual membership with Business Victor Harbor on the Essentials tier, at no additional cost.

Plus, we are now offering exclusive “Platinum” memberships, available to only 10 businesses, providing them with exclusive high-level benefits and exposure. You can find all the details on our website, or feel free to get in touch if you have any questions.

Looking forward into 2022, an ambitious plan is already well under way with the on-going stewardship of our hardworking volunteer board, combined with support from membership support officer Renee Ancell, and Derek McIlroy as Interim Executive Officer.

Renee’s recent work on building the Business Awards saw the introduction of a self-nomination process, and a focus on building an independent and strong judging team. As a result, 64 businesses chose to enter the 2021 Awards, with submission judging finalising Friday this week. The Awards will be held on Saturday, the 27th of November, and we will soon release more details on the event on our social media and member newsletter. So don’t forget to save the date!

Derek has stepped down from the contractor role of Executive Officer in August, so he can pursue several other business interests in the region, but remains on the Board of Business Victor Harbor and is standing for re-election again today.

Together with our Board, Derek has supported the roll out of a full governance structure for the Chamber, and has shown an exceptional focus on advocating for local businesses, whilst also making many representations to the Council on issues that matter the most to our local business community, and I thank Derek for his efforts.

After a thorough recruitment process, Business Victor Harbor has just appointed Julie Irwin as a contractor for Member Services and Administration, and Julie will be joining our team in the coming weeks.

Since our last AGM, there has been an huge amount of work put towards developing a brand identity for Victor Harbor.

The development of the “Breathe” campaign helped to give us a strong and vocal presence in this development.

Derek, Stuart, Renee and Kirsten have worked in close collaboration with the City of Victor Harbor, resulting in a professional marketing consultant – Nation– creating a truthful, and effective brand, that will be effective in promoting how Victor Harbor is seen from a “live, work, invest and visit” perspective.

The big Victor Harbor brand launch will be at the awards dinner this year, with a full video and complete image and logo reveal, which has been a labour of love for us. We are very proud and very excited to finally be ready to bring it all to life.

The process has incorporated many local people in the discussion, many here tonight in fact. The job ahead of us now is to continue to educate everyone in Victor to be able to speak to this idea, and to ensure that the towns business growth aligns to the brands core values. 

We have developed a Brand Champions campaign, and the role out of marketing, images and placement is taking shape, with further funds from Council committed to this over the coming year. 

It is truly an exciting time to be involved in the community in Victor, and I can’t wait for you all to see what has been achieved in this time. 

A high tide raises all boats, and the opportunity this brand voice gives to our town is a vital step for all businesses and investment.

I am confident that the new branding has incorporated a lot of the concepts of “Breathe” and it has been polished and developed to a point where it is ready to go. 

I urge you to join us for the launch at the Awards to see what it is we are so excited about!

Whilst this only a summary of the achievements for the past year, there is still significant work to be done into the future, which includes the

Roll out of the place branding,
Formation of a Tourism and Food board
A Landlord / Tenant / Agent facilitation and matching service
Holding events to close the skills gap in employment and training
Creation of template for major investment attraction to the city that engages all stakeholders
As well as growth of member base to 250+ members
As with all organisations, we have a strategy, we have a well- run operation, we have talented people and we are financially prudent; all facets that enabled us to rapidly react as the Covid-19 virus disrupted our work and personal lives.

But it’s the spirit of the team that carried us through. I would like to take this moment to thank each and every member of the volunteer board, and also to Derek and Renee, for the days, the nights and the weekends that they spent looking after our local businesses.

And finally a big thank you to our members. You are at the core of everything we do.

As business owners, you have worked hard to overcome the challenges over the past year, and should be applauded for your efforts. Your efforts and resilience allowed you to “get on” with what you do. I know it has been tough, however, we hope the worst is over. We urge you all to remain vigilant and focussed moving forward as we head towards the tourism season.

We are so lucky to do business in this part of the world, and there has never been a more rewarding time to be active part of this connected, diverse and wonderful business community.

Yours in business,

Michael Schubert

Chairperson, Business Victor Harbor
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