LATEST News

  • 27/09/2019 6:01 PM | Anonymous
    • The Illawarra Business Chamber (IBC) is pleased to announce the election of its newly elected Regional Advisory Council (RAC), which will include Steve Horton, Chair of the Southern Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SHCCI), as its Deputy President.

      The IBC draws its membership from businesses across the Wollongong, Kiama, Wingecarribee, Shoalhaven and Shellharbour local government areas (LGAs), and supports 15 affiliated Local Chambers of Commerce, including SHCCI and Moss Vale and Rural Chamber of Commerce.

      The Council will advise the IBC on membership issues, inform policy positions, and deliberate on matters affecting the region’s economic development, as well as facilitating a line of communication between members, the IBC and NSW Business Chamber’s State Council and Board.

      “The IBC is a membership-based organisation, which draws heavily on the advice and perspectives of its business leaders. Our new Councillors are a particularly strong cohort, representing all parts of the business community and across each of the local government areas that comprise our region,” said Adam Zarth, Executive Director of the Illawarra Business Chamber.

      “As Deputy President, I look forward to contributing the views and perspectives of businesses in the Southern Highlands to the work of the IBC, and in turn, the initiatives and policy positions of the chamber,” said Steve Horton, Deputy President of the Illawarra Regional Advisory Council.

      “I am particularly pleased to be working with Steve again, who is highly regarded by the Southern Highlands business community, as are his contributions at the regional-level.
      I look forward to working with him and his counterparts in the Southern Highlands to support their activities and grow their membership,” said Mr Zarth.
       

      Illawarra Regional Advisory Council (RAC)


    • ·         Amy Harper* (President), Partner, Kells Lawyers
    • ·         Steve Horton* (Deputy President), Chair, Southern Highlands Chamber of Commerce and Industry
    • ·         Peter Engelen*, General Manager Planning and Infrastructure, NSW Ports
    • ·         Mark Grimson*, Economic Development Manager, Wollongong City Council
    • ·         Damien Israel, Chief Financial Officer, University of Wollongong
    • ·         Mark Sewell*, Chief Executive Officer, Warrigal
    • ·         Dr Melinda Williams*, Chief Executive Officer, Peoplecare
    • ·         Graham Betts, Director Architect, Edmiston Jones
    • ·         Karen Burdett, Chief Executive Officer, The Cram Foundation
    • ·         Kim Capp, Chief Executive Officer, South Coast Private
    • ·         Janine Cullen OAM*, Director, JC The Power of One
    • ·         Matthew George, General Manager, Jamberoo Action Park
    • ·         Andrew Gillott, General Manager – Business Solutions, Telstra Enterprise
    • ·         Tim Jones, Managing Director, Commercial Sales, MMJ Real Estate
    • ·         Kara Lamond, Chief Operating Officer, Illawarra Health and Medical Research Institute
    • ·         Daniel Rowan*, Managing Director, Internetrix
    • ·         Marie Beikmanis, President, Kiama and District Business Chamber
    • ·         Brendan Goddard*, Delegate, Shoalhaven Business Chamber.

     

    * re-elected.


  • 20/09/2019 10:45 AM | Anonymous

    Form a team to show your support in saying NO to domestic violence in our local community. This event will take place on Sunday 24th November at the Highlands Golf Club in Mittagong.


  • 20/09/2019 10:29 AM | Anonymous

    Please show your support for the White Ribbon Walk at Bradman Oval and join others in saying No to Family Violence in the Southern Highlands. Come dressed in a white t-shirt on Friday 29th November at 7:30am, and bring a gold coin donation for the sausage sizzle.

    Register at https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/southern-highlands-white-ribbon-walk-tickets-65075378208



  • 17/09/2019 10:35 AM | Anonymous



    2019 Global Human Capital Trends and the Future of Work presented by Deloitte Consulting


    In 2019 an intensifying combination of economic, social and political issues are challenging business strategies.


    Faced with the relentless acceleration of artificial intelligence (AI), cognitive technologies and automation, respondents to this year's Global Human Capital Trends survey believe 86% must reinvent their ability to learn.

     

    After nearly 10 years of economic growth, and despite a pervasive corporate focus on digital transformation, 84% of respondents stated they need to rethink their workforce experience to improve productivity.

     

    In the face of these new pressures, businesses must move faster and adapt to a far more diverse workforce, with 80% of respondents believing they need to develop leaders differently.

     

    While these may seem like timeless human capital problems, today they are arising in a whole new context: the social enterprise.

     

    In this session, our presenter Katherine Wannan, Director, Human Capital practice of Deloitte will provide the audience with insights into the 2019 Global Human Capital survey. Co-presenting with Katherine is Deloitte Director, Megan Maletic who will present on the Future of Work.



    WEBINAR DETAILS

    Date:        24 September 2019

     

    Time:        12pm to 1pm

     

    Cost:         NSW Business Chamber Members: complimentary

                     Local Chamber Members: $15 including GST

                     Non Members: $25 including GST 

     

    Register:    To register click here

     

    Please ensure an email address is included in your registration to access the webinar.


  • 10/09/2019 2:48 PM | Anonymous

    The new documentary 2040 has inspired the first ever Regeneration Weekend in the Southern Highlands. 
    Damon Gameau’s documentary 2040 has inspired The Mill Bowral to host the event in partnership with WILDfest, Carousel Lifestyle, and Quarter Acre Farm.

    From 6pm on Friday 25 October 2019, an exclusive screening of the film, 2040 will take place in The Mill’s courtyard and be followed up by a panel discussion including filmmaker, Damon Gameau, Bob Hawke Landcare Award winner, Charlie Arnott, Hamish Mackay Director of Biodynamics2024, Lizzie Buscaino from Piccolo Farm and Joanne Dodd from Quarter Acre Farm.

    On Saturday from 10am until 6pm, The Mill will come alive with more 2040 film screenings, sustainability workshops, expert speakers, local fresh produce for sale as well as artisan stalls to enable locals to be informed and take immediate action.

    Together with Hamish Mackay, a renowned biodynamic practitioner and educator, Charlie Arnott from Boorowa NSW, 2018 Bob Hawke Landcare Award recipient and recent winner of the delicious. Produce Award for Outstanding Innovation, Sustainability and Community, will also run two workshops at the event. More workshops are being added each week.

    The events are free, but gold coin donations are appreciated. RSVP via https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/2040-regeneration-weekend-tickets-71568873427?fbclid=IwAR2Tb4VQMFAyWyL7khrjBuAQmna82P1Trg-rBWzm19Ejhf8XSHQu60WHx3w

    Let the regeneration revolution in the Highlands, begin #whatsyour2040

  • 10/09/2019 2:41 PM | Anonymous

    A powerful business tool that is often underused by some companies is social media. Did you know 77% of people are more likely to buy a product from a company they have engaged with on social media? This is a great tool for smaller businesses especially, who may not be willing to spend funds on other advertising forms, like television or print. For the most part, social media advertising is free.

    Not all social media channels may be suitable for your business. You should invest your time and skills in the platforms where you're most likely to reach your target audience. The obvious are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Youtube, but there are countless others like Snap Chat, Tik-Tok, Instagram and Reddit which may be suitable, depending on your audience and the products or services you’re trying to promote. It’s all about research; researching each platform in depth will show you which platforms are going to grow your business.

    Some tips for using social media effectively for your business include:

    Be Consistent

    How consistently you post should be specific to each social media site you’re utilizing. Some platforms like Twitter and Instagram stories require you to be active multiple times per day to get the maximum potential from your audience. Other post types, like regular Instagram posts and Facebook updates, don’t have as much urgency and can be used less.

    Create a Bond With the Audience

    It’s great that you have established a steady customer base. But using social media to market your business will help you get more sales from your existing customers in addition to acquiring new ones. The key to gaining new customers is to create a strong emotional bond through the pictures and stories you are posting, to attract new viewers and strengthen bonds with your existing customers.

    Don’t Over-Promote

    One trap that businesses often fall into is treating social media too much like regular advertising. Creating a constant stream of promotion will overwhelm and bore customers. You need to create content that people will actually enjoy and want to see. Promoting yourself is important, but make sure to break it up with news, comments on current events or even just ask a question. You don’t have to entirely avoid mentioning your brand in these posts; just be careful not to sell it too hard.


  • 08/09/2019 10:03 AM | Anonymous


    NBN Co

    Many of the gripes businesses have about their NBN connection could be due to them using broadband packages that are unsuitable for their needs, with NBN Co’s head of business revealing that five in six firms are using residential connections.

    Addressing COSBOA’s National Small Business Summit in Melbourne last week, NBN Co’s chief customer officer for business, Paul Tyler, admitted that more education is needed to get SMEs onto the right NBN products, stating that around a third of medium businesses report that NBN is not meeting their needs.

    “We all know that customer experience of businesses on NBN varies, and not always for the best — we recognise that,” he said, adding that “we’ve done a bad job of explaining” the differences in the broadband products available.

    “Your members [business associations] tell us that the more digitally sophisticated a business, the less satisfied they actually are on NBN. They have higher expectations of NBN than your average residential consumer; they have less tolerance to issues and their related impacts; their commercial and customer ramifications of any interruption are that much more devastating actually to businesses.”

    He also acknowledged that SMEs struggle to navigate the structures of NBN Co as the wholesaler, and telcos and internet service providers (ISPs) as the retailers of NBN services.“THE VAST BULK OF THE

    At the heart of the vast majority of business concerns about NBN, according to Mr Tyler, is that most are relying on residential-grade connections which were never meant for businesses. He said that around 500,000 of the 600,000 businesses already on the network are using residential connections.

    “Underpinning much of the poor experience we get from some parts of the customer base is that 75 per cent of those dissatisfied customers are connecting to NBN on a basic residential service,” he said.

    “They’re using a service that has not been designed to meet the much more demanding use cases of some business applications. They’re not being connected to the network with a business-grade service model that is where their responsiveness requirements are being delivered.”

    As such, Mr Tyler said that the result is a need to get this “vast body of businesses” to understand exactly what their internet needs are, and what is available on NBN, and then matching the two.

    In a bid to help address this problem, Mr Tyler said that NBN Co has “trained and accredited 1,100 local businesses” that engage with other SMEs about their internet requirements and ensure they are on the plan that best meets those needs.

    NBN Co has also unveiled an online tool on its site, called the Solution Finder, in a bid to help connect Australian businesses with the NBN product that best meets their broadband usage requirements.

    Aren’t all connections the same?

    Mr Tyler subsequently told My Business that education around the different types of products available from NBN is a crucial part of its public-facing activities, which have been purpose-built for different use cases.

    “Whilst NBN can do as much as is possible to improve the underlying network, we need the consumers to make sure they are buying the right product,” he saidAPPLICATION NEED, THEN TE

    He added: “So, that’s another thing we’re trying to do, is really educate end users about ensuring they understand what their needs are: that they understand the type of traffic usage that they are going to require, the balance between upload and download speeds, the kind of responsiveness they expect from their retailer and wholesaler in fixing things when they go wrong.”

    So, what are the fundamental differences between business grade and residential products?

    Mr Tyler said that because no user and no business is identical, the differences in demand can vary greatly. But essentially, the residential offerings are effectively based on “speed tiers”, which can suit many businesses, depending on their usage. Business-specific plans, however, can offer greater variation than residential ones.

    Commercial-grade options can include different speed tiers that can match download and upload speeds. But the peak differentiator, particularly for the more expensive business products, comes down to dedicated bandwidth, “whereas in the residential world, it’s a shared bandwidth”, Mr Tyler said.

    “In the business world, it’s [often] a different peak time,” he added.

    According to Mr Tyler, a rural Tasmanian-based reseller operating an e-commerce site “completely unlocked their business” by using the Solution Finder to identify, and subsequently switch to, an NBN package that better suited their operational needs.

    ‘If it doesn’t exist, we’ll build it’

    Another perhaps little-known function of NBN is to develop custom-made solutions — usually to enterprises because of the cost involved  where existing services are insufficient.

    “If it doesn’t exist, we’ll build it,” Mr Tyler said at the summit.

    Elaborating on this with My Business, Mr Tyler explained this service is offered under the Technology Choice Program.

    “There’s always been a way for end users to engage with NBN to upgrade their network or change the technology type they’re on,” he said.

    “That’s been available since NBN launched.”

    He cited the example of a Tasmanian private school, which used the point-to-point fibre “top-end” offering as part of the early stage NBN rollout, as one example of this direct engagement in developing a customised solution.

    “They had a demand, it was a demand for a much more robust, highly capable offering than the traditional offering that we would have deployed in that area. They wanted to order that grade of service. They placed the order with the retailer, the retailer placed the order with us, and we built an appropriate technology to deliver that service,” Mr Tyler said.

    Where does responsibility lie between NBN and the ISP?

    Mr Tyler acknowledged that there is some confusion around the role of NBN.

    “Where the end user has an issue, they should raise their issue with their retailer, and then the retailer will raise the issue with NBN, if it is an issue with NBN.”

    Rollout nearing completion

    Mr Tyler also pointed to the size of the NBN rollout as one of the country’s biggest ever projects, suggesting that teething issues were inevitable with something of this scale.

    “The NBN project is one of the largest infrastructure projects that Australia has ever undertaken,” he said.

    “Building that ubiquitous, high-speed broadband network that works for everybody, no matter where they live across the vast country of Australia, does mean complexity at scale.

    “We’re in the last 12 months of the build program... 5.5 million homes and businesses are now users of NBN.” 

    He added that in the remaining year of the network’s rollout, 50,000 homes and 20,000 businesses are being connected every month, with more than 10 million now connected to the network.

    “We’re on the home stretch,” he said.

  • 03/09/2019 12:19 PM | Anonymous

    SKILLS SHORTAGES A MAJOR ISSUE FOR BUSINESSES IN THE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS

    Businesses in the Southern Highlands have reported experiencing a skills shortage, according to the 2019 Workforce Skills Survey released by the NSW Business Chamber.

    Released today to coincide with the start of National Skills Week, the survey has also found the state-wide workforce shortage has widened significantly, with job vacancies growing from 54,000 in 2017 to 82,000 in 2019.

    Of businesses surveyed in the statistical region of the Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven, half indicated that the skills shortages experienced were in trade skills and 78 percent of businesses indicated that skills shortages were increasing workloads for existing staff.

    Illawarra Business Chamber Executive Director Adam Zarth said that the survey results highlight the need for a greater emphasis on training the next generation in order to sustain the region’s economic growth.

    “This widening workforce and skills gap will hamper our economy unless action is taken to address the mismatch between the skills young people are obtaining and the skills businesses require,” said Mr Zarth.

    “We are also concerned about rising levels of youth unemployment in the Southern Highlands and Shoalhaven statistical region, which has risen to 18.7 percent in July, up from 9.4 percent in April, after a period of improvement,”

    “We see a key area of underperformance as being in school-based apprenticeships and traineeships, where Queensland is delivering almost four times as many as NSW,”

    “Locally, only 3.8 percent of businesses operating in the region reported employing a school-based apprentice or trainee, so we are calling for these to be doubled across the state each year,”

    “Sixty percent of businesses said that the education system was not adequately equipping young people to enter the workforce, so we are also calling for industry-based career advice for students and parents starting in year nine for all schools in NSW,” Mr Zarth said.

    Key survey findings can be found at: https://www.nswbusinesschamber.com.au/Issues/Issues/Workforce-Skills/Recent-submissions-and-publications  

    Media Contact: Adam Zarth – 0404 146 829

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