Borders Business Forum Welcomed

Scottish Borders Council and the Borders Chamber met with a wide range of Borders businesses on Saturday 16 February to explore the idea of a single voice to promote the interests of all.

Speaking to a packed chamber, Councillor Stuart Bell set out how an approach from Borders Chamber had encouraged him to help test out the concept of creating a strong, single voice for businesses in every sector.

While there is a range of more than 50 business organisations operating in the Borders, the idea behind a Business Forum is to have a single voice on issues of shared interest. That way, there can be a louder lobbying voice and a capacity to represent different sectoral areas.

The vote to form a Business Forum was unanimously supported by the 60+ representative of businesses and business organisations present.

Contributors voiced the opinion that a single Business Forum voice would add both credibility and weight to all business interests, that there remained a clear role for existing business organisations but that a corporate voice would capture greater attention and that the various interest of sectoral groups would continue to require their own distinct organisations. Interests including the importance of good transport links, telecommunications, networking and taxation were just a few of those under discussion.

Representatives of the Federation of Small Businesses, NFUS, Business Gateway, the Council and the Borders Exporters Association – as well as dozens of small business and social enterprise leaders – agreed that the combination of geography and fragmented communities tended to stand in the way of creating a corporate business voice and this is something that needs to change.

Councillor Stuart Bell offered a Council meeting facility and support to set up the Business Forum but stressed that he would not play an active part.

“This Business Forum must absolutely be organised and reflect the interests of its business members, not of the Council. I welcome and applaud the initiative and am happy to help in any way I can to contribute to moving towards the next stage.”


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