Blank canvas as new Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce starts life

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A business organisation has started life with a blank canvas and a focus on the future.

The new Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce may carry a similar name to the old Milton Keynes and North Bucks Chamber of Commerce but chief executive Paul Griffiths said it has “no connection” and carries no liabilities.

Previous employees of the Chamber that collapsed in February are still understood to be fighting for redundancy pay but Mr Griffiths said “there is nothing in effect we can do for them.”

Mr Griffiths, who is also chief executive of the award winning Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce, said “It is a very sad position. I have been made redundant myself in the past.”

He said the new chamber is looking to fill positions and anyone, including the people who had lost their jobs, could apply online at www.chambermk.co.uk

As for former members of the old chamber, Mr Griffiths said they were being offered membership deals. If they sign up for one year, they would get 12 months plus a number of free months membership as a goodwill gesture.

Northamptonshire Chamber of Commerce was given the go-ahead to set up a new Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce, which as a base at 500 Avebury Boulevard in Central Milton Keynes. It was a finalist in the Chamber of Year category in the 2012 National Chamber Awards.

Mr Griffiths said one of the organisation’s first tasks would be to try to rebuild the reputation of the Chamber movement by getting out in the community and offering services that are valued by business leaders.

Mr Griffiths said: “We understand that many firms in the Milton Keynes area may feel let down by their previous Chamber of Commerce and we are keen to help.

“We have already been working with some members of the previous Chamber by processing export documentation for them to enable them to carry on exporting their products abroad.

“And, now that we have been given the green light to set up a new Chamber in Milton Keynes, we are able to help them in other areas too, such as with free legal and HR advice and helping to put them in touch with other MK businesses through a varied calendar of events.”

The two Chambers will continue to operate as two separate concerns and will not be a ‘merged’ Chamber.

Andrew Geary, Leader of Milton Keynes Council, said: “I’m delighted that the Northamptonshire Chamber will be taking on the management of the new Milton Keynes Chamber of Commerce. The Northamptonshire Chamber is a long-standing and well respected organisation that will provide a dedicated Milton Keynes operation to suit the needs of our local companies. I very much look forward to working with them to further build our reputation as a great place to do business.”

John Longworth, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, added: “The creation of a new Chamber in Milton Keynes is great news for local businesses. Companies across the UK are crying out for more support to help them drive growth, boost trade overseas and create jobs and wealth, and this is something that having a brand new, revitalised Chamber will help them with.”

The new Chamber has a twitter account at @ChamberMK