About Weymouth & Portland Chamber of Commerce
Why we exist
The Weymouth & Portland Chamber of Commerce is committed to supporting economic growth in Weymouth and Portland by helping to provide an environment in which businesses can thrive.
We exist for the benefit of our members, who range from sole traders to national brands. Our members also include charities and other not-for-profit organisations, such as schools and colleges.
There are around 2,000 businesses in Weymouth and Portland, two thirds of which employ no more than four people.
What is a Chamber of Commerce?
The first Chambers of Commerce were set up in Europe in the 1600s, when merchants, traders and craftsman formed groups where they could discuss common interests. Local Chambers, such as ours, are entirely independent organisations, set up and run by local people. We are accountable to our members, not to regional, national or international Chamber organisations.
However, we have recently affiliated with the Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This strengthens the ties between the two organisations, bringing additional benefits to our members and making it easier for our voice to be heard at a county and even national level.
What we do
Our support for local businesses includes:
– Organising local networking events, such as our popular monthly Business Breakfast, one of the largest such events in Dorset.
– Providing training and education events covering subjects relevant to local firms.
– Representing the interests of local businesses to local authorities and other bodies, such as Weymouth & Portland Borough Council, Dorset County Council, Dorset Local Enterprise Partnership and our local Member of Parliament, Richard Drax.
– Encouraging the next generation of entrepreneurs and employees through our support for the innovative Centre of Excellence for Industrial Liaison (CEIL) at Budmouth College and apprenticeship events run in conjunction with Weymouth College.
– Running social and charitable events. There’s more to life than doing business and we like to help our members to enjoy living in this wonderful part of the country. We organise trips and social activities, while often raising money for local charities.
How we are operate
The Chamber is run by and for its members. Our membership is generally between 125 and 150 organisations each year.
The Chamber is led by a President, elected from within the Executive Committee. The Committee is itself elected every year at our AGM. All members of the Committee, including the President, give their time voluntarily.
The difference we make
The Chamber has been supporting firms in Weymouth and Portland for almost 90 years. We’ve helped many people to find their feet in the local business community, by providing an environment where they can connect with likeminded people.
In recent years we’ve represented the concerns of businesses to the local councils, contributing to a significant cut in the cost of car parking charges.
We played an important role in the establishment of the Weymouth BID, in whose operation we take a keen interest. Around one quarter of our members are also BID levy payers.
In 2014 we were the first town Chamber to affiliate with the county-wide Dorset Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
We sponsor a number of local events including Weymouth Carnival, events at Nothe Fort and Christmas Victorian Shownight.
We raise money for local charities, and in particular, the President’s Charity. In 2014, this was About Face, the head and neck cancer support charity.