David Birrell: Businesses can help market grow

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Edinburgh Evening News readers may well be aware that over 300 guests gathered at The Sheraton last week for the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce Annual Business Awards – there was an excellent feature profiling the winners and the event itself.

What that article highlighted was one of the key points about the awards process, the overall feeling of pride about the strength and depth of business talent in our capital city.

The diversity of businesses and organisations there on the evening rival anywhere in country, and that is the UK, not just Scotland.

However, whilst this was a celebration, we were reminded that even more effort could be invested to inspire and support each other across the ever widening range of businesses we have in Edinburgh.

Examples include those with a proven track record trading internationally, coaching and guiding those businesses embarking on new foreign markets. Peer to peer mentoring is already delivering great results and with a growing number of senior managers volunteering to participate, this is expected to grow strongly in 2015.

A valuable source of support is sharing non-competitive market insight and data. Within the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce we have already established several Inspiring Groups focusing on the key business enablers.

These groups are already providing a catalyst for greater sharing of knowledge, challenging traditional ways of working as well as sparking new ideas and encouraging innovative solutions and new routes to market. This same principal applies equally to the whole of Scotland where there are already great examples of working together with the focus on growing the overall sizes of our markets.

On the evening of our Business Awards, we were also reminded of our wider responsibilities to support the communities in which we operate. Success can be measured in many different ways and it is equally important to celebrate the contribution a business makes to others as well as their own shareholders. As we witnessed with our awards entries, greater involvement in the community not only inspires employees but also helps in establishing the values of the business and the brand.

As the audience left there was an overwhelming feeling that we should not only celebrate more often but do that bit more each day to support each other. With so many opportunities ahead, I am sure that the competition next year will be even tougher and there will be even more reasons to feel a great sense of pride in being part of a great capital city business community.

David Birrell is chief executive of Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce