By Chair of Merton Chamber, Victoria Nicol
It is an honour to be elected Chair of Merton Chamber of Commerce in its 25th year and I am delighted to have the opportunity to support business growth in the borough. There are many companies in Merton who are leaders in their fields and I believe there is an opportunity for even more firms to prosper by exploring and developing new markets.
I am now two months into my new role and I have spent some time reflecting on what I would like to achieve and how I can best play a part in supporting the businesses of Merton. My own background spans two key sectors; creative and technology, and it is these that I am particularly passionate about promoting as they are undoubtedly where a large part of our future economic growth will come from.
From film and television, to advertising and marketing, the creative industries are one of the UK’s fastest growing sectors in terms of both job and value creation.
The creative industries are growing faster than any other business sector in most of the UK with London responsible for 40% of all creative industry jobs and a third of creative businesses. In the technology sector, London is becoming a global force to be reckoned with. The digital sector is driving the capital’s economy. London has been ranked as the number one city in Europe for supporting both start-ups and scale-ups in the European Digital City Index. Digital tech industries are creating employment opportunities and accounting for 1.56M jobs across the UK with one fifth of the UK’s tech businesses now headquartered in London.
As a working mother of two young girls I understand first-hand the challenges facing women in the workplace and returning to work after starting a family. The birth of my first child was the driving force behind my departure from a City job and the launch of my own business. However, this change in direction is increasingly not just limited to the female population. More and more of us are changing our personal definition of success and an increasing percentage of the working population now have some degree of flexible working, whether that is to pursue other interests or turn a passion into a business. Many large corporate organisations such as Credit Suisse, KPMG and Vodafone now offer “returnships” for those who have taken time out and are returning. Even Mark Zuckerberg is taking time off to go on a road trip. Times are changing and as business owners we need to be able to adapt our business models to this new way of working so that we continue to attract and retain the right talent.
The Chamber played a vital role in helping me to get my business off the ground and has continued to play a key role as it grows. I hope by sharing my own experience of starting a business that I can provide inspiration to others who may be thinking about making a business idea a reality.
For now I would like to conclude by saying that I very much look forward to working further with the Board and Management team. Should you wish to contact me directly please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org