It comes at a time when every single business across the region – indeed the country (and the globe) – is facing challenges, the like of which I’ve never seen before in my lifetime.
And the Chamber’s response to the Coronavirus outbreak is, for me, a great example of why it remains such an important pillar of the business community and is why I am so proud to be taking up this new role.
Since it became clear that the virus was going to have a major impact on businesses across our patch, the Chamber has been at the forefront of both delivering up-to-the-minute information to members as well as speaking up on what companies need to help them face this crisis.
The Chamber gives business a strong voice and now, more than ever, that is vital. But it is a sensible and balanced voice too.
The Government has announced a raft of measures over the past fortnight designed to deal with the virus and the Chamber has, in response, acknowledged the unprecedented nature of the support being offered by Government.
Where we have seen gaps, we have passed those through to the Government or the Bank of England in order to ensure the help is targeted in the right way and delivers what businesses of all sizes and sectors need.
We also recognise that the Government is designing unique support packages from scratch, so while they are urgently and quickly needed, we also have to recognise the practicalities of building these systems. It is a highly complex task.
So, the Chamber will continue to speak up for businesses in this region and will, also, ensure our members understand the extent of support available to them and how to access it.
Looking ahead, and I think it is important that I do look beyond the current crisis, there is so much to be positive about here in this region once we come through this situation.
As someone who works in manufacturing, I can see what a fantastic place this is for our sector with so many major companies operating here and hundreds more in the supply chain.
I believe that strengthening the links between the largest manufacturers and the smaller suppliers in this region is something that we must look at and see how we can ensure that companies here can push themselves forward in order to see more contracts re-shored to this area.
I am also excited to look ahead to Coventry’s year as UK City of Culture in 2021 and the Commonwealth Games in this region in 2022.
Once we have come through the current Coronavirus crisis we are all going to need something to look forward to and this region is lucky to have two incredible events on the horizon.