Understanding Chamber BusinessA chamber is a voluntary membership based business organization that serves their member’s collective interests.
Two Key QuestionsWhere do you want to be?How will you get there?
Who Owns the Chamber?• A member voluntarily invests money by payment of dues on a regular basis in exchange for a perceived value from the chamber.• Members are the first element of an organizational structure.• Members are both owners and customers.
Generic Roles of a Chamber/Association• Work proactively to improve the sectors / region’s profitability and competitiveness (R&D)• Work effectively to represent the sectors interests at all levels of the legislative regulatory process (Policy Advocacy)• Supply sound information and advice for members (Access to Information)• Promote exports and other market opportunities (Trade Promotion)• Promote training and education (Training and Development)• Work to ensure practice of principals of good governance (Good Governance)
Group AWhat is Long-term vision?Why is it important for chambers?What could happen in absence of long-termvision?Group BHow long can you survive with currentfinancial position?How can you make your chamber financiallysustainable?Group CWhat are unethical practices?What could be the impact of such practices onyour chamber?How can you reduce unethical practices?
Key Challenges Faced by Women Entrepreneurs in South Asia• Access to information about doing business• Understanding of legal issues• Access to support system• Lack of education• Lack of documentation leading to poor access to finance• Cultural issues• Innovation and commercialization• Access to markets• Poor communication skills• Lack of technology awareness• Managing Growth / Scaling• Going International
Key Issues with Business Associations• Understanding of Purpose• Vision• Continuity• Leadership• Will to excel• Capacity of staff• Inability to operate as a business• Unethical practices
Leadership• Elected Leadership (Board): – Develop overall vision, mission and objectives• Management Leadership (Staff): – Execute the day-to-day functions to ensure that the vision, mission and objects are achieved
Good Governance in Chambers What does this mean for you?
Typical Areas of Concern (Transparency)• Compensation (Hiring/Firing/promotion)• Conflict of Interest• Solicitation• Buying/Selling/travel• Financial Integrity (gifts/donations)• Investment Policies• Accountability• Strategic Management
Does Governance Matter?• Independent, mission and member-driven association• Considering Members as the owners of association• Equitable treatment of members• Disclosure and transparency• Empower staff to deliver
Chamber Services• Networking opportunities• Advocacy• Member to Member Discount Program• Learning opportunities• Community development through effective CSR• Trade leads• Referral services• Employment exchange• Subsidized consultancy services• Promotion and advertising
What is your preference• Membership/services/advocacyOR• Grants/project
Key Learning from Women Chamber Diagnostics in Pakistan• Inability to run chamber as a Business• Lack of Vision, Mission, Objectives, Strategic Plan• Poor financial management (budgeting, fund raising, expense projection)• Poor networking (no membership drive)• Lack of staff capacity (inability to attract and retain quality staff)• Inability to attract member attention / support• Inability to attract donor funds• Founder’s syndrome