View from the Chamber, August 29

St Albans Chamber speed networking event

St Albans Chamber speed networking event - Credit: Archant

CHAMBER members enjoyed an exclusive opportunity to see the once-in-a-lifetime exhibition featuring the Lincoln 1215 version of the Magna Carta. The event was hosted by St Albans District Council and The Very Reverend Dr Jeffrey John, Dean of St Albans.

The air was full of history as always in the Abbey as the Dean welcomed guests to the exhibition.

The document itself has never been inside the Abbey before, so it really is marvellous to be able to have it for the first time in the building where it was first conceived.

The Dean said: “People have responded very enthusiastically. We have welcomed thousands of people by this time, and they are still coming. As well as being a good thing to do in itself, it helps raise the profile of St Albans, and is very good for our visitor numbers inside and outside the Cathedral.

“The response has been tremendous, though of course not everyone has been overwhelmed. I overheard someone a week ago coming out of the exhibition ‘pod’ and saying ‘Oh – is that it then? It’s just a bit of old brown paper in a portaloo!’

“Well, of course, in a sense it is. But it is a bit of brown paper which is also probably the most important document in the world for the development of democracy, the rule of law and human rights – and for anyone who realises that, it really is a thrill to have it here.”

The Bistro at Westminster Lodge was buzzing at the Chamber speed networking event last week. These evenings have become so popular that we are adding more of them to our busy events calendar next year, we really enjoy meeting new delegates that attend and the buffet served was absolutely delicious.

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Forty delegates enjoyed meeting each other and sharing details about their businesses, there was a great atmosphere in the room with lots of positive energy, business card exchanges and lots of smiles!

Speed networking really is great fun and a very positive environment in which to make new business contacts. Our host, Chamber director June Cory, allocated table leaders who had the responsibility to keep their tables under control.

The next business breakfast at Cote Brasserie is completely sold out; our guest speaker is Jon Dean from Impellus, a leadership and management organisation based in St Albans.

Jon will be speaking about the five most common gaps in business management and how they can stunt growth and shred value.

He will be revealing the most common issues his clients face and how missing or ignoring them can have a big impact on profitability and future growth. Jon says there are some surprising ways to address them which we look forward to hearing all about. If you would like more information about business performance training go to

Jon is an accredited coach for Growth Accelerator, and the Chamber President and I were very fortunate to hear much more about this last week following a meeting with one of their representatives.

It is a partnership between leading private sector business growth experts, Grant Thornton, Pera, Oxford Innovation and Winning Pitch and backed by Government, Growth Accelerator will get your business to where you want it to be – faster.

Growth Accelerator will get to the heart of the barriers that are holding your business back and help you identify the critical steps you need to take to achieve your next phase of growth – rapidly and sustainably. The scheme is available to businesses registered in England, with no more than 250 employees and a turnover of less than £40 million. It is a service provided by the country’s leading business growth specialists. People who are known for delivering tailored advice that gets results.

It’s also an innovative partnership between private enterprise and government, meaning you receive exceptional value for money. The first step is that a Growth Accelerator expert conducts an in-depth interview with you to explore your ambition, your capacity to grow and your market opportunity. This is important to ensure you are right for the service and best placed to manage rapid business growth.

If eligible you are then offered hands-on support that will help you find a way to double your business in three years. Once on board the scheme your company will receive a personalised growth plan, access to coaching support, invites to attend workshops and master classes, access to leadership and management grants of up to £2,000 per individual and networking, mentoring peer-to-peer advice in a high growth community. Growth Accelerator has three services: business development, commercialising innovation and access to finance. If you would like more information contact Julian Greenaway on 07920 286 763

A gentle reminder that the Chamber has two very big events planned for the autumn which can both be booked online at

A networking lunch on Friday, October 11, features guest speaker education minister Michael Gove MP. Are you in the education/training/skills sector? If you would like to attend let us know. The venue is Sopwell House Hotel at 12.30pm and tickets and tables are still available.

The other event, also at Sopwell House, is the annual Chamber Ball on November 16. Further details available online.

The Chamber welcomes the following new members: Emma James Physio, Hygiene Audit Systems, Informed Finance Ltd and Clearcut Recruitment.