The original of this article was written by Jim Gainsford and published online for The Leader 31/08/23. The original page can be seen HERE.
The St George Business Chamber presented the new executive committee to the local business community last night and outlined their vision for the future.
New chamber president Tony Baddour introduced the members of the chamber executive.
Valentina Colyer is chairperson of the chamber's economic development sub-committee and is a local business operator and former president of the Hurstville Chamber of Commerce.
The new chamber secretary is Luke Kovacs runs his own design and online digital services business and will oversee the chamber's website and social media content.
Treasurer is Rick Li who runs his own accounting practice in Kingsgrove and has extensive experience working with businesses across many industries.
Guest at the launch, held at King Carlos Coffee, Kogarah included State Member of Oatley, Mark Coure; Georges River mayor, Nick Katris; Councillors Colleen Symintgton, Elise Borg, Natalie Mort, Christina Jamieson, Ben Wang aad Peter Mahoney; NSW Business Chamber's Karen McLean, Autism Community Network Australia CEO Vanessa Gaucci, Sutherland Shire Business Chamber president Jeanne Zweck and Canterbury-Bankstown Chamber of Commerce CEO Wally Mahana.
"We have come together as passionate volunteers motivated and energised to take this chamber forward and help deliver on the Four Pillars strategy that we have worked hard to develop," Mr Baddour said.
The First Pillar is Collaboration.
"A unified voice is a strong voice and while we might not always agree with every decision being made, this chamber executive is committed to working collaboratively with all parties to ensure its members voices are head and this great business community has a seat and a voice at the decision-making table when it counts," Mr Baddour said.
The next pillar is Economic Development.
The Economic Development Sub-Committee will be a think tank of ideas to encourage government and fellow local businesses to promote a local procurement policy.
It will also launch the Know Your Local campaign, a project to showcase individual local businesses through social media, its monthly newsletters and via their own individual video to be placed on the chamber website.
The third pillar is Infrastructure:
"We need to talk about improving our local infrastructure which will contribute to creating a desirable business environment. We need an efficient public transport network to encourage businesses and employers to open up shops and offices in the area. We need more parking to support our local retailers and we need better traffic management flows to encourage consumers to want to come and shop and support our local business," Mr Baddour said.
The final pillar is Beautification, Activation and Accessibility.
"We need to strive to enhance the appeal of our immediate public areas, work with all levels of government to activate public spaces and encourage a thriving market economy. We want to see a bustling and exciting night economy that showcases our strong multicultural roots and international cuisines and showcase what's great about the St George business community, our accessibility to major transport and logistic links, our awesome tourism locations, sporting venues, world class business and conference facilities.," Mr Baddour said.
Another chamber initiative, announced by Ms Colyer is a partnership with TAFE to encourage the career path of students through involvement with local businesses.
TAFE teachers will nominate students to participate regardless of age, gender, background or subject studied.
"This is our vision for your chamber, our voice," Mr Baddour said.
"Chambers are an important link to every business community but the lifeline to every chamber is its members," Mr Baddour said. "We want to show we are your voice and support network."
His comments were supported by State Member of Oatley, Mark Coure.
"Thanks to all of you who are hiring more people and creating more businesses," Mr Coure said.
"The Chambers of Commerce are so important, especially as the ears and eyes of our business for each level of government," he said.
"When you have got a good chamber you have a strong community as well."
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