Bellingen Chamber of Commerce

Weekly news from the Bellingen Chamber – 31 August 2020

31 Aug

Business link-up – Wednesday 2 September

Profiling our members: this week’s special guest James Cracknell, Windsong Travel
Don’t miss this event!
James is the owner of Windsong Travel, which has branches in Bellingen, Sawtell, Inverell and Coffs Harbour. The COVID situation has been devastating for the travel industry so James will talk to us about how his business has been impacted and how he hopes to navigate through the coming months.
Joe Rattray from Waves to Wilderness in Coffs Harbour will also be joining us.
Please click here just before 8am, or to join by phone please call 02 8015 6011 and enter the meeting ID: 558 434 683

Making regional NSW a procurement priority

The policy to make regional NSW a regional priority was announced last Friday by Deputy Premier John Barilaro and Finance Minister Damien Tudehope. It will ensure government agencies need to first consider buying goods and services from a small, medium or regional business for all direct procurements up to $250,000.
The policy aims to increase the participation of SMEs and regional businesses in government procurement of goods and services through a range of initiatives.
Government agencies need to first consider buying goods and services from a small, medium or regional business for all direct procurements up to $250,000 as part of the NSW Government’s plan to boost local businesses.
Click here more information.

Annual General Meeting

Our AGM has been scheduled for Wednesday, 14 October 2020 at 6pm.
The venue is to be confirmed. We hope to be able to host the event as a face to face event. Look out for further information as we approach the date.
Make up of the Board
In accordance with our Constitution, we are required to have a minimum of 7 Directors and a maximum of 11 Directors. At the AGM all board members will stand down and a new board will be elected by show of hands at the meeting.
Voting rights
All Full Members of the Bellingen Chamber of Commerce are entitled to vote in this election process. A Full Member is a business member whose membership fees have been paid in full at the time of the meeting. Affiliate Members who have joined the Chamber this year will shortly receive a letter inviting them to convert to Full Membership.
Nominating for election to the Board
All Full Members are entitled to nominate for election to the Board. If you wish to nominate for election to the Board, please see our website for details of this process.
Voting by proxy
If you are unable to attend the AGM yourself, you can vote by proxy. Please email me for details of how to vote by proxy.

Grants available

Click here to see details of grants currently available for a range of programs.

Pat Conaghan mobile office visiting Bellingen

Pat Conaghan will be in Bellingen on Wednesday, 29 July between 10am and 3pm and is inviting people to make appointments to meet with him. Click here for information on how to request an appointment.

Meet the members – Arne Hansen

What is your business?

I operate two businesses – the main one being Buildings Evolved and the other Bello Hive, The first is a sustainability consultancy focusing on the built environment established in 2014 and the latter is a co-working space on the main street of Bellingen (below Qudo) established late last year.
Buildings consume 30% of all energy consumption, and constitutes over 50% of electricity demand alone. Realising the scale of the challenge associated with climate change, the business was established to provide high-level technology strategies for building optimisation and energy reduction to large portfolios of properties both in the government and private sector.Bello Hive was established in October 2019 as a co-working space for the town. Buildings Evolved are permanent tenants of Bello Hive, along with other part time members and many visitors. The primary purpose of the space is to reduce travel and associated carbon footprint, and as such features professional video conferencing in a private meeting room alongside two pods of 4 desks each.

How has the pandemic affected your business?

The pandemic has had dramatic effects on the businesses. While our consultancy work is usually from diverse sources, the only one that has remained steady or increasing is the government sector. Unsurprisingly, the property trust and education sector have been gutted by the crisis, and so their spending has largely ceased. We have also had to do a huge amount of paperwork, planning and compliance over and above normal business, and so we have not really been on the front foot like we had hoped in 2020. There has also been a lot of lobbying of politicians and government to get access to grants and other funding available to impacted communities from the bushfire crisis, consuming more time again. The co-working space was rocked by the impact of bushfire smoke shortly after it opened, and when that crisis ceased, COVID struck, necessitating a shutdown of the office, just as we were building momentum. We have now re-opened, but with less demand and an uncertain future. All that said, we are optimistic for the future and have some great projects underway with ARENA, the CSIRO and NSW Schools. The silver lining is that we have been able to accelerate other projects and invest more time into improving the capabilities of equipment and staff.

What prompted you to join the Chamber?

I joined the board because I turned up to the AGM and got nominated. True story. I joined the Chamber because I felt that, at the time, operating a business at home made for isolation and disconnection. The Chamber has provided connection and broken the isolation. Along with meeting great people, it has allowed me to better understand the community and use that knowledge to advocate for the interests of fellow business owners and their employees to all levels of government. As Treasurer since June, I have worked to update our membership database and institute a new accounting system in time for June 30 – and in doing so review internal processes to reduce duplication and improve responsiveness.