David Savill is a Partner and Head of the Corporate and Business Services at Bishop Fleming. David became Chairman of Exeter Chamber in January 2016, following 6 years on the Chamber Council, being actively involved in South West Chambers of Commerce over that period.
My priorities for Exeter Chamber chairman role.
Chamber of Commerce groups have long played an important role in representing business at local, regional, national and international levels. At Exeter Chamber this has always been a key part of our activity: we meet regularly with Exeter City Council, Devon County Council and our local MP to raise business issues and lobby for solutions. We campaign for initiatives we believe will support business, in particular in the interest of our members, and we voice our collective concern over hurdles to business success.
At this point in time, with Exeter riding high as Devon’s capital city and a focus point for the business community across the South West, it is imperative that we continue to work as the voice for business. In order to do this we must ensure that we listen to our members and create a conversation: we regularly run an economic conditions survey which feeds into the Bank of England and in our latest survey we also asked members for their views on the impact of an exit from the EU. We intend to continue to gather views from members on a regular basis and invite businesses to get in touch if they have a pressing issue for Chamber to consider.
Furthermore, in order to continue as the strongest voice for business, we must seek to represent as many businesses as possible, with the aim of growing our 500 strong membership base: Exeter Chamber doubled in membership over the last decade: we would like to do the same again over the next ten years.
As such, Exeter Chamber has launched an extended marketing and communications plan with a new website last month, an enhanced news bulletin service, supporting the forthcoming Express and Echo Business Awards, a campaign on Heart FM and a partnership with Radio Exe to gather and share local business news.
Exeter Chamber has been a driving force, together with Exeter City Council, Devon County Council, East Devon District Council, Mid Devon District Council. Together with the University of Exeter, in working with business to relocate or set up headquarters in the Exeter area, iincluding the Met Office, John Lewis, Princesshay and Waitrose. This remains a key priority for the Chamber: we will continue to support inward investment for our area, bringing with it skilled jobs and opportunities for the future, such as further development at the Science Park, Skypark, Marsh Green and of course, major retailers like IKEA who will bring enhanced footfall to the city.
We are really proud to support business in Exeter and proud of all the city has achieved: more than 28,000 new jobs created in five years and the lowest unemployment levels since records began, Exeter is a major hub for SW employment. This together with the biggest recorded growth from 2002-2012 in individual’s purchasing power across England makes Exeter, in 2016 and beyond, the leading regional destination for shopping, leisure and business.