Chamber of Commerce 2018 update

Trinity Bond (Envirochill), Bonnie Davidson (Back to Work) and Helen Bryan (Remax A1)

The Ipswich Chamber of Commerce is preparing for one of their biggest years yet with the introduction of three new board members, an Agribusiness network and a significant number of new members.

Listening to the wants and needs of local business owners has allowed the Ipswich Chamber of Commerce & Industry to evolve and adapt their framework for 2018.

Noting the outstanding growth in the food, tourism and agribusiness sector, the Chamber has developed the Ipswich Region Food & Agribusiness Network, which will advocate for businesses in this sector and put Ipswich’s food, tourism and agribusiness on the map.

President Phillip Bell said the Chamber needed to “assist and support and provide representation and services to” the burgeoning food and agribusiness sector.

“The Food Network is owned solely and led by the Chamber of Commerce,” Mr Bell said.

“This proposition will attract information and talent that is unique and relevant to that sector rather than the broad business sector.”

The food-centric network aims to stage four key events in 2018, including a ‘paddock to plate’ event to rival the Scenic Rim’s “Eat Local Week”.

“The event will be a celebration and recognition of food from this region,” he said.

“It’ll be a taste experience so people can understand how good the produce, hospitality and service is that comes from this region.”

Additionally, the Chamber welcomed three new general board members – Phil Stonestreet of Stonestreet Coaches, Professor Glen Coleman from USQ and Karthik Venkateswaran from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia.

The Chamber of Commerce had to recover from the shock arrest of former junior vice-president Cameron McKenzie. However, Mr Bell said the introduction of the new members to the board has seen a “healthy level of ideas and new interest in our leadership.”

“This is my third year as president… I guess I’ve never been more pleased with a composition of a board than it is for this year,” Mr Bell said.

The main focus for 2018 will be Chamber members. Identifying that business people “don’t just want information and advocacy”, the Chamber has shifted their meetings from drinks and mingling to an entertaining night out. “This year we’re building on our calendar of talent,” Mr Bell said. “We’re also determined to prove Ipswich is not only worthy, but able to attract and get value from national and even international talent.”