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Chamber celebrates another successful year at ninth AGM

Caithness Chamber of Commerce celebrated another successful year for business in Caithness and North Sutherland recently at its ninth Annual General Meeting, held on 3rd October 2016 at the Seaview Hotel in John O’Groats.

As part of the official proceedings of the AGM, Trudy Morris, chief executive of the Chamber, gave members an update on the Chamber’s progress over the past year, noting that the Chamber has continued to grow its membership and now represents over 190 businesses across the region.  She noted it was very much business as usual, with the Chamber continuing to deliver a range of business support services to the business community alongside its core membership offering - a key strength of the Chamber being consistency.

Through its management of the Caithness Business Fund, grants totalling up to £71,000 have been given out to startups and small businesses in Caithness and North Sutherland. The Chamber has also continued to manage the North Highland Regeneration Fund, which has loans of between £5,000 and £50,000 available for businesses in the area looking to expand.

The Chamber has seen an increase in the number of people looking to start business ventures and as such continues to see success with its business support programme – funded by Dounreay Site Restoration Ltd and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority – offering invaluable advice to those starting up. The Chamber has also delivered a number of contracts for Highlands and Islands Enterprise, including local business engagement for the Digital Tourism Scotland programme, which offers advice and support to tourism businesses keen to understand how digital technology can help them grow.

This year a ballot of members was called as the number of director nominations succeeded the number available.  Those directors standing for re-election (who were - David Craig, Shona Kirk, Donald MacBeath and Stephen Sutherland) were all re-elected along with new nominee Jennifer Simpson, Director of BBM Solicitors.

Stephen Sutherland, chair of the Board said: “We are delighted Jennifer has been nominated.  Jennifer has a wealth of legal experience and recent expertise in incorporating a small company. Throughout her career in Caithness she has displayed a commitment to Caithness and to the development and support of local businesses in the area. She is sure to bring a fresh perspective to the Board’s discussions, and we look forward to working with her over the coming year.”

In addition to the formal business of the AGM, attendees also heard a presentation from Cameron Smith of Atlantis Resources, who gave an update on the MeyGen project, the site development at Gills and the forthcoming deployment of their tidal turbines.  Attendees were also given the chance to tour the new John O’Groats Brewery to hear about the process of commercial brewing and sample some of their latest beers alongside a magnificent display of local produce provided by the Seaview Hotel.