The Changing Face of Membership 2016

2016 saw a relaunch of our membership packages. Following a survey of our membership and clients, we felt that our membership package should be one that is reflective of the business world in which we work. So rather than paying for membership based on the employee size of your business, our new Standard and Premier packages have been designed to reflect the level of personalised service your business requires. Both packages will support your business growth, giving you an action plan to achieve your business goals, and ongoing expertise and guidance to help you navigate all stages of your business journey.

Member highlights in 2016

· Saving members on average 33% on training, workshops and events
· Providing over 20 networking opportunities to allow our members to raise their business profile and help facilitate introductions to key contacts
· With over 20 training workshops during the course of the year we helped to provide business solutions to support business growth
· Offered members and exclusive insurance scheme through our partnership with Kerry London Ltd
· Welcomed 60 new members during the course of the year
· Plus, for Premier members we will assign a Relationship Manager who will help you achieve your membership goals

Events stats:

Networking – 12 Events over 600 attendees
Workshops – 34 workshops over 300 attendees
Panel sessions – 5 sessions with 142 attendees
Awards – 3 events with 350 guests

Total – 54 events with 1400 attendees

By joining Merton Chamber of Commerce we can help you achieve your business goals. With a choice between Standard and Premier membership, and with prices starting from just £180 pa, and with easy monthly payments, you will find the perfect option to suit your business.

Merton Chamber Business Service

Following the official launch of the Merton Chamber Business Service in October at Wimbledon Brewery we have completed 24 FREE comprehensive diagnostic business reviews with 17 businesses engaged with one or more of from our list of 18 specialist associates to support them with their specific growth plans following their review. From a recording studio and a design agency to a luxury food company and a travel planner – the interest in the service has been a reflection of the diversity of growing businesses based in the borough. Next year we aim to complete at least 100 free reviews so why not call us and book your free diagnostic?

“I got much more out the meeting than I expected. I came away very focused and fully aware of what is needed to help the business through to the next stage of growth.” Trish Smith, Southside Office Supplies
Fab Business Services meeting with Kevan from @MertonChamber – thoroughly recommended.” Tweet from John Merriman, Crown Lane Studios 19.11.16

Merton Business Support Service
During the past year, the team at the Merton Business Support Service, funded by the London Borough of Merton, has helped launch 90 new businesses with 130 new jobs created, established a local business helpdesk supporting more than 500 businesses, provided growth subsidies to 11 businesses, delivered more than 1000 hours of business advice and helped start-up businesses to raise nearly £300,000 in finance. It is now an established business support programme helping local businesses to begin trading, expand and increase employment.

“A huge amount of work goes into getting a completely new business going and I found lots of very valuable support at MCC since I launched in summer this year. Not only did I get some training through two workshops, which I attended, but was also introduced to useful local partners. It hasn’t even been one year since I started my business and there is still lots for me to work on, but it’s wonderful to know I can count on the support from Kevan, Raymond, Nicola and others at the Chamber” Anna Desogus Health Coaching, November 2016

Merton Means Business
Fundraiser on the Roof

It’s been another hugely successful year for Merton Means Business – a partnership between Merton Chamber of Commerce and Merton Voluntary Service Council that champions the support for local charities by local businesses. This year over £40k’s worth of support has been provided by local business to local charities.

It’s great to see Paul Strank Roofing set up a trust to support children and young people across Merton and the UK. Paul and Irene Strank have, over many years, not only dipped into their own pockets but have used their long established presence in Merton (and beyond!) to encourage other businesses to support the causes that they are so passionate about. My conversations with Paul and Irene have never been about roofing and always about fundraising!

The Stranks need little introduction to local businesses (they know most people!) but other local businesses, keen to give back, have limited or no knowledge of the variety of good causes on their doorstep. I would never dissuade a local business from supporting a large national charity but, just as I encourage businesses to ‘shop locally’, I also encourage businesses to give locally too. There are around 700 voluntary, community and faith based organisations based in Merton doing incredible work to support our local people most in need. Part of my role at the Chamber is to raise the profile of these local causes and facilitate relationships between local businesses and the local community.

Charities, of course, love one-off or ad hoc giving but building relationships is much more beneficial for them and the business. A good example is Reed (a huge national brand) and Jigsaw4U who provide important bereavement support for local children and young people. A meeting with Wendy at Reed in Wimbledon High Street in April revealed that she was interested in using relationships with local businesses to mount an Easter egg campaign for children. Wendy was interested in finding out what charities might benefit from this. “There are many” I said before reeling off half a dozen. After a little consideration, Wendy selected Jigsaw4u which particularly resonated with her. Two weeks later the press were gathered at Reed’s Wimbledon office for a few pictures of all those involved….. and, of course, the 400 chocolate eggs! The staff at Reed did an incredible job and were supported by staff and volunteers at Jigsaw4U. Local and social media interest ensured that both charity and business were acknowledged and praised for their fantastic partnership effort to ensure that 100s of children got an egg for Easter.

That successful partnership is at it again, but this time collecting gift vouchers for teenagers in the borough that would otherwise get little or nothing this Christmas.

Developing a relationship with a national company such as REED has had great benefits that we hadn’t even foreseen, such as giving us credibility when talking to other businesses interested in supporting us. It has helped us to reach so many more people and shown us the generosity of our community. Having the support of the determined REED team meant that we were able to help whole families feel a little more cheerful, and we hope to do the same this Christmas. Michelle Mullarkey Jigsaw4U

If you would like to give to a good cause this Christmas take a look at our Christmas Causes link and if you would like to develop a relationship with a local charity and help raise their and your local profile I am always available for a chat! 020 8944 5501 or email

Take One

The Take One service continues to go from strength to strength, having championed over 300 businesses to source apprenticeships, work experience – not workplaces, and jobs and successfully placing 150 people in apprenticeships and other work experience and work based opportunities. We have worked with the job centre to support 60 unemployed Merton residents to progress towards employment and secured £40,000 from London Borough of Merton and £50,000 from Job Centre plus to support Take One. Local business Ear Candy, who develop live musical entertainment for events, took on an Apprentice after hearing of our Take One Service. Ben Rogers explained. “We were looking for someone to help with marketing for the company and needed to recruit. When we heard about the potential to employ an apprentice we thought it was a nice thing to do – to support someone who lacked experience and have training provided to get them a qualification. But we didn’t think it would be this good!! It really suits a small business where we need flexibility and a diverse range of skills in our employees. I also think that developing someone into the job role has created an extremely loyal employee – and we possibly would not have got the same relationship with a standard hire of employing someone who ‘already had expertise’ in marketing – but who may not have adapted so well to our company and the way we work. Apprenticeships might not be right for every job role, but we would recommend that businesses consider it as part of their recruitment practices – it has really worked for us.”

Healthy Workplace

2016 has been a fantastic year for our Healthy Workplace Service! We have relished opportunities to connect with local businesses through our digital channels, workshops, events and award ceremonies!
So far there have been more than 80 tweets, retweets and mentions of @Merton_Council and council-backed initiatives and organisations via our popular @HealthyMerton twitter account and eleven healthy workplaces blog posts on the Merton Chamber website, all promoting the Merton Council-backed healthy workplace service
The service was also promoted at GLA-organised business breakfast briefing chaired by Nicola Davenport, our in-borough healthy workplace consultant with 50 delegates from private and public sector in attendance.
Nicola Davenport was also a headline speaker about the Merton approach to promoting healthy workplace practices among SMEs and over 150 delegates in attendance at national Inside Government conference in October.
We have attended and participated at regular GLA steering group meetings re London Healthy Workplace Charter and Merton has been regularly cited for good and innovative practices!
And to round off the year, Merton was recently presented by Mayor of London’s office with a special award for running the most active and effective healthy workplace schemes in the capital!

The Generator Business Centre

2016 has been a record year for The Generator Business Centre, with full occupancy, all offices continue to be let within two months of them being vacated. We are now home to a plethora of businesses, showing just how diverse Merton is! Tenants range from landscape gardeners, fish processors, accountants, solicitors, care providers, charities, cartographers plus many many more. Since locating themselves at the Generator, many of our tenants have been able to expand and employ new staff members. In particular Ancoa, who have grown enormously in the last year, taking over two large offices in the centre, employing new people monthly and taking on interns.

With assistance from Merton Chamber and the Merton Business Support Service, Saggiomo has seen rapid expansion and new contracts agreed with larger organisations to supply them with their produce. Other achievements at the Generator include receiving Healthy Workplace Accreditation from the London Healthy Workplace Charter, taking on 5 fantastic work experience students through work placements, a new bespoke virtual office service and a new direct debit payment system.