Cairns' businesses will have a stronger voice on a local, state and federal level, than ever before thanks to a new collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland (CCIQ). And joining the CCIQ "helps ensure the issues of the Cairns business community are understood by policy makers", according to Cairns Chamber CEO Debbie-Anne Bender.
CCIQ was formed in 1868 with the aim of helping Queensland businesses with their day-to-day operations. Today it offers a huge range of support and advice to members for all types of business needs including human resource and industrial relations requirements, international trade advice and staff training, to name a ffew. CCIQ represents more than 400,000 small and medium businesses across Queensland.
The Cairns Chamber, which has been working with local businesses for 109 years, introduced a new range of programs, initiatives and taskforces this year to help revitalise the business community and benefit its ever-growing membership base. These include a revitalised Cairns Young Chamber (CYC), the Advancing Women in Business Program and the Itinerant Taskforce.
The CYC, which recently selected 12 participants aged 18-35 to take part in its annual Emerging Leaders Program, plays a pivotal role in developing tomorrow's leaders.
"To make a valued contribution to advancing young professionals, we've reinvigorated the CYC and added more events and opportunities for the future young leaders to broaden their networks and develop leadership skills," Ms Bender says.
Working in conjunction with James Cook University and the Office of Small Business, the Cairns Chamber developed the Advancing Women in Business Program, an 18-week development opportunity designed to increase confidence, skills and career growth for women through workshops, mentoring and networking events.
"We engaged with focus groups to determine what business women in Cairns sought in workshops," Ms Bender says.
"We focused our workshops around their suggestions."
Similar to the Advancing Women in Business Program, the taskforces initiated by the Cairns Chamber were also based on concerns and ideas from the Cairns business community.
"Local businesses are faced with many issues and must be on their toes at all times," says Ms Bender. "Thanks to new iniciatives and joining forces with CCIQ, we are making it easier for them to increase exposure, take advantage of networking opportunities and access information and services that can increase their business efficiency."