Chamber Awards 2019 – Most Innovative Project
Chambers, as leaders of their business community need to be innovative in the projects they work on. In order to get sufficient stakeholder support and membership buy in, projects that the Chamber works on must catch the imagination of all.
Northern Ireland Chamber – Learn Grow Excel – Business Support Initiative
Learn Grow Excel is a suite of initiatives designed to support companies, of all sizes, in their ambition to grow and export. The initiative, rolled out as eight themed programmes of support, recognises the commitment from the private sector to assist local companies to scale-up and maximise business growth and export opportunities.
It is delivered across two key themes:
- Capacity and Sales – programmes of support that develop and augment the sales function within a business to achieve growth.
- Advisory – one to one consultancy for businesses providing access to market knowledge, finance partners and connections.
It is supported by NI Chamber’s SME Partner, Power NI, as well as programme partners Bank of Ireland, Danske Bank, First Trust Bank, HSBC, Ulster Bank and Ulster Carpets.
Other shortlisted projects:
Gorey Chamber – Gorey Visitor Centre
Gorey Chamber launched the Gorey Visitor Centre in January 2018, repurposing an old main street premises into a functional, purposeful and self-financing tourism office. The visitor centre welcomed over 7,000 guests through its doors in 2018 and generated €50,000 through sales of tickets and local arts and crafts.
Kilkenny Chamber – Ireland’s Medieval Mile Pass
Kilkenny Castle located at one end of the city receives over 400,000 visitors annually yet the magnificent St Canice’s Cathedral and Round Tower at the other end receives only 60,000. The question is what can be done to encourage those 340,000 departing visitors to stay longer and engage more in what Kilkenny has to offer? Fortunately, Kilkenny has many attractions to offer such visitors but clearly the visitors are unaware of this. Kilkenny Chamber sought to redress this by creating Ireland’s Medieval Mile Pass.
This is a one-day visitor pass that, for a modest charge, gives the holder access to all the attractions along the medieval mile including the Castle, the Medieval Mile Museum, Rothe House, Smithwicks Experience, a variety of tours. It also includes a selection of discounts in cafes and restaurants along the way to complete the experience.
For a single payment of €39, the Pass provides over €100 worth of free entries and discount offers. It provides excellent value and a full day of activities for the visitor. Furthermore, it enables the smaller and less well-known attractions to lever off the stronger well established brands such as the Castle, and Smithwicks Experience.
Shannon Chamber – The Mid-West Lean Network
The Mid-West Lean Network, established by Shannon Chamber in November 2016, is the second largest regional lean network in Ireland, after Waterford Institute of Technology’s Lean Enterprise Excellence Group, aims to strengthen and increase the existing culture of lean within the Shannon and the wider Mid-West region. Its aim is to enable each industry to broaden and strengthen their competitiveness through knowledge sharing and bench-marking against each other and different industries.
The Network is industry-led. Its undertakings are steered by a Committee, led by a rotating chair, and comprising experienced lean practitioners from 10 member companies, who meet monthly to plan activities.
The Network organises and runs an annual calendar of workshops (6-8) and a year-end Conference. Workshop themes are decided by the Network’s 100 member companies through their responding to a survey of topics circulated each year end. The workshops are hosted in member companies’ facilities to facilitate practical demonstrations on how lean processes work and deliver results.
Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland and LEO Clare are active participants in the Network, which has been described as an exemplar of a sustainable lean network; this sustainability is linked to the fact that it is administered and promoted by a Chamber.
Tralee Chamber – See Something Say Something
SEE Something, SAY Something, is a public service initiative launched by Tralee Chamber Alliance in partnership with An Garda Síochána. The project, the first of its kind in Ireland, is for members of the public who ‘see something’ that might need Garda intervention, to ‘say something’ by texting TRALEE and the incident details to 50555. The details of the sender are removed and encrypted before being passed to the local Gardai and there is no charge for the public.
Waterford Chamber – Waterford Chamber Regional Leaders Programme
The Regional Leaders Programme is innovative in its content and delivery and is considered one of the best mentoring programmes available right now.
The strength of the programme lies in its collaboration between Waterford Chamber, stakeholders, members, their employees and the wider business community.
It has been designed to develop leaders of the future in the South East Region. The programme is aimed at professionals who want to develop their leadership competencies and in turn will benefit companies seeking to increase the capacity of their internal talent pool.
• Successors for a senior position
• Employees who have shown leadership potential
• Individuals seeking to realise their own potential
• Entrepreneurs seeking to learn from established leaders
The Regional Leaders Programme runs monthly from September to June and incorporates practical guidance on leadership styles, problem-solving and key recommendations during 1:1 mentoring sessions, Mastermind workshops and guest speaker lunches that create opportunities for participants to engage with Regional Leaders colleagues and expand their network.
The programme is run by Waterford Chamber and supported by Waterford Chamber Skillnet, Bausch + Lomb and Waterford Institute of Technology.