View from the Chamber: January 31 2013

Roomview at the Wicked lady Breakfast

Roomview at the Wicked lady Breakfast - Credit: Archant

LADY Katherine Ferrers from Markyate was the highwaywoman who has now become known as The Wicked Lady. The well-known inn at Wheathampstead was named after her and so was Ferrers Lane, running through the downs. This renovated gastro pub was the striking venue for a Chamber of Commerce business breakfast meeting – our first event of 2013.

Delegates enjoyed excellent food and service and heard from Paul Witcombe, operations director of the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) who came to speak to our members.

Did you know that Hertfordshire is the fifth largest UK economy outside of London? It is home to more than one million people and 47,000 businesses! Our economy is worth around £25bn – around two per cent of the UK economy.

Paul told us that the Hertfordshire LEP was confirmed in October 2010, one of the 24 successful bids announced at the time and one of the few LEP’s covering a single geographical area.

The ambition is for Hertfordshire to become a world-leading economy: one of the top three in the country outside London.

To achieve this, the LEP brings together key partners from business, academia and the public sector to provide the necessary strategic leadership, vision and focus to deliver this aim.

Their mission is “to accelerate business-led economic growth in Hertfordshire”, specialising in support where there is potential for high growth.

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The LEP board includes Quentin McKellar, vice chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire, and Graham Lane, vice president of St Albans Chamber of Commerce and is chaired by John Gourd, Johnson Matthey.

One area of focus is to focus on existing businesses (not start-ups) creating growth by supporting initiatives to network and “help businesses help themselves” making strong connections with universities and colleges. The Chamber is very proactive from this perspective and we have scheduled a forthcoming networking event with Oaklands College.

Following our Annual General Meeting on March 7, our delegates will hear from Jamie Stevenson (director of apprenticeships and business partnership) who will be informing employers of the benefits of apprenticeships and grants available to employers taking on apprentices for the first time. Interested? Book your place now on our website; the event takes place in the evening at the brand new Discovery Centre.

Businessman extraordinaire, model employer, philanthropist, promoter of the arts, mayor of St Albans and sportsman, Samuel Ryder is best known for inaugurating one of the world’s most famous team sporting trophies. However little is known of the man, his other activities and causes.

The Samuel Ryder Foundation aims to promote public knowledge and appreciation of the many things he achieved and the values he stood for and have recently submitted a planning application to erect a statue of Samuel Ryder in the city centre in front of the Town Hall, opposite Clinton Cards.

This will be a figurative statue in bronze, just over life size, designed to capture the essence of the man, his personality and elements of his life and achievements.

It will be of the highest aesthetic worth and respond to the setting in which it stands in a position where it can be enjoyed by all. If you would like to show support of this application please do so by email to Your email must include application number 5/2012/3231 and must be submitted by February 15.

Running a business without doing any online marketing is like winking at a pretty woman or man in the dark; you know what you are doing, but no one else does! Got drawers stuffed with business cards from 101 networking sessions? Spent too many mornings in a room full of suits or listening to fifty elevator pitches? Looking for specific business introductions but too afraid to ask? Confused about how social media fits in with your business?

Wouldn’t know a tweet from a post and most days are too weary to care?

You are not alone! Why not join us at Darcy’s on Wednesday, February 13, at 7.30am for an interactive networking session where you will learn how to join up your offline and online networking efforts, grow your reputation locally, meet and engage with the right people and get found more easily on Google.

June Cory (pictured) is a Google certified partner with a proven track record spanning 25 years in media management, sales and training, and she owns My Mustard, an online advertising agency based in Hertfordshire.

Passionate about her work, a highly enthusiastic on and offline networker, June is a Director of the St Albans Chamber of Commerce, a regular judge at the FSB Herts Awards and talks about Google at various forums including the FSB and the University of Hertfordshire.

Places are limited so please book online if you would like to secure a place.

The Chamber welcomes the following business who has recently joined up: Aspire, a charity that offers practical support to the spinally injured, assisting them to lead a fulfilled and independent life

For more information about joining the Chamber of Commerce and becoming a member go to

If you have any questions about the Chamber and how we can help raise your company profile in the district, please give us a call – we would love to hear from you, so phone us today on 01727 863054.