From the earliest years stretching back to Medieval Times, people involved in making, buying and selling products and services saw the value in the collective approach. Back in those times activities were centred around Guilds and trade fairs.

In the 21st Century, the role of chambers has had to adapt with time to the prevailing circumstances. At the centre of this all is the issue that the Free State Chamber was formed to fill a need. By aligning itself with an established mother body, that has been around for over half a century, the FSCCI can leverage on the established infrastructure of the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SACCI).

SACCI is the largest national chamber in South Africa with 3 tiers of membership making up the broad church of the institution. It embraces all aspects from the 50 odd large corporates and multinationals through to the 20 large national Associations. This includes the National Association of Automobile Manufacturers of South Africa (NAAMSA) through to the largest employer grouping in South Africa- it being, the Security Industry Alliance which employs around half a million people.

And then, the chambers, where there are around 40 chambers throughout the country. An amalgam of large metro chambers like the Durban Chamber right through to Community chambers like Alexandra. This is the broad church of business. Our chambers have 20 000 small businesses which on average employ 50 people each and do a turnover of around R50 million per annum. So this chamber movement is a key role player in the direction taken by the national body in its strategic thinking.

SACCI is the largest business grouping of business interests in South Africa with an estimated footprint of around 80% of GDP by value.

What does this mean for the business community in the Free State?

Leveraging on the mother body to address policy issues at both national government and regionally.

Developing new value propositions and opening new windows for business both domestically and across borders and overseas.

Using the broad footprint of membership to negotiate cheaper deals from our corporates for our members in the space of-

BMW motor cars- discounted deals only available to members of our chamber movement

Websites for small business at a nominal rate

Discounts on medical aid/provident fund/funeral cover /pension/hospital plans

Accounting services tiered and tailored towards the client types

Mobile restaurants for the enterprising entrepreneurs

Donor funding for the chambers to support their participation at a national level

Connectivity by big screen with other chambers as an offering also to chamber members who can interact (Skype style) with people in other areas thereby reducing the travel down time and cost of travel between the chamber centres.

2020 promises to be an exciting time for us in the chamber movement as we bring new services and benefits to the market and build our business communities around the chamber pillars, the pillars of society.

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