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Firms futureproof themselves for ongoing uncertainty

Dan Fell, CEO, Doncaster Chamber, presents a cheque for £159 to Lindsy James, director, Active Fusion.

At a recent Doncaster Business Insight Breakfast Briefing, local firms gained an economic snapshot of how the local economy is faring and how they can make themselves more robust and sustainable in these changing economic, political, and environmental times.

The results of the latest Doncaster Business Insight Survey, run by Doncaster Chamber, showed that despite Brexit uncertainty, local firms’ sales, advance orders and employment increased over the past three months. However, investment in plant & machinery, training and the proportion of firms working to full capacity decreased.

Anna Round, IPPR-North, delivered a keynote speech on the productivity and sustainability of SMEs saying that the keys to resilience are agile and personal decision making, strategic planning, effective technology use, management approach, access to capital, core staff competencies and ongoing learning, reputation and customer relationships, and responses to globalisation.

She added: “Partnership working and collectively pushing for policy change make SMEs more robust. Skills, investment, innovation, worker health & wellbeing, and effective business support make firms more productive.”

Local business panellists further discussed how agile working, sustainable product development and addressing business waste such as energy use, can maintain a strong productive workforce and improve the bottom line.

Michele Wightman, Keebles LLP, said that a staff survey at her law firm had shown that flexible working had improved staff morale and increased productivity.

Chris Saunders discussed how regeneration, energy and services specialist, ENGIE are innovating to be a part of the Smart Cities revolution, such as providing electric vehicle charging, but that it’s key for a business to stay close to its core strategies.

Ashley Granter, Natura Design, known as the ‘mushroom guy’ for creating products out fungi (mycelium) described how selling or buying waste materials such as building materials and food waste can be used to create new products and benefit not only the environment but a company’s profits.

Terry Parker, DCLT, agreed that the reason for the sports and leisure venues’ strategy to improve environmental sustainability was to reduce costs.

Panellists agreed that corporate, social and environmental sustainability is important, not only for a local community and the planet, but for a business’s robust future.

To help drive local CSER, for every business with a DN postcode that completed the Doncaster Business Insight Survey, the Chamber donated £1 to Active Fusion.

“The money raised by the local business community will be used to support a young person with special educational needs who has volunteered for Active Fusion during every holiday Sport Camp for three-years impacting on the lives of thousands of local young people,” said Lindsy James, director, Active Fusion.

“We will use the money to contribute to his professional development to support him on his journey to become a fully qualified coach.”

Doncaster Chamber sits at the heart of the business community working to support its 700+ members with their growth, success and prosperity. They listen to and represent their members’ business voice to shape the local and national business agenda and get things done on their behalf.

The Doncaster Business Insight programme, sponsored by ProAktive and supported by Doncaster Council, helps to inform stakeholders and influence policy to provide the right support for businesses and the economy to grow.

To complete the Q2 2019 Business Survey, attend monthly roundtable and the quarterly Breakfast Briefings to address business matters, visit: doncaster-chamber.co.uk

 

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