Chamber develops three year strategic plan

In September 2008, the Council and staff took part in a strategic planning session, the first ever for the organisation. The Strategic Plan identifies areas of importance to be focused on through programmes, events, advocacy and other initiatives in the next one to three years.
In preparation for this, several members of the Chamber were contacted by an outside party to participate in a virtual focus group, which revealed some interesting results. All respondents expressed support for Chamber staff and leadership and had positive support for Chamber sponsored training and events such as Business After Hours and the Business & Technology Expo. The perception of the members is that the organisation is balanced with respect to public advocacy and they expressed a desire for the Chamber to have and exert more influence in the public advocacy domain.
Suggestions were made for more industry specific forums and meetings, which is a new project the Chamber plans to adopt this year.
After discussion and prioritisation based on the collective analysis by the Council, five clear strategic initiatives emerged as the most important areas. At the top of the list was the need for a new building to become the nerve centre for all Chamber activities. A Building Committee will be established to investigate the feasibility of developing a visitor and convention centre, with adequate parking, which would include permanent offices for the Chamber and other business associations as well as conference and training facilities. Ideally, the facility would enable businesses to host conferences, trade shows, training courses and other events and also allow the Chamber to interact with visitors and investors in a central location in order to respond to questions and to provide comprehensive information.
The second task identified by the Council is to implement a comprehensive Marketing and Communication Plan. In the first quarter of 2009 proposals will be requested of Chamber members involved in the marketing and communications industry to assist the Chamber Council and staff in developing a comprehensive marketing plan to upgrade the Chamber’s website, The upgraded Chamber website and new materials will promote the benefits of doing business and economic development in the Cayman Islands, encourage inward investment and promote the products and services of the membership. Other marketing materials will be developed to communicate that the Cayman Islands is open for business.
While the Council has enjoyed a positive relationship with the current Government, the third item of importance is to increase focus on and maintain a positive, proactive relationship between the Chamber and Government. The Chamber intends to engage in meeting more regularly with various ministries and to provide our views on the current economic and business climate to the wider community. Special committees will be established to address specific issues submit recommendations to the policy makers for review and action and highlight our views in our award-winning quarterly magazine, THE CHAMBER.
Continuing our efforts to open trade with other countries was identified as the fourth important initiative. The fourth trade mission to Panama City will take place 2-6 March, 2009, in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism, Environment, Investment and Commerce. The council and staff will be exploring other locations to facilitate increased trade and investment opportunities.
The final initiative identified was Environmental Advocacy and Responsible Development. Protecting and preserving our natural resources through responsible and sustainable development will be emphasised in 2009. Increasingly, Cayman’s natural resources are being depleted and we must strike a balance between development and the environment. We will continue to encourage more members to sign the Chamber’s environmental pledge, promote the benefits of recycling, organise another Earth Day Roadside Clean-up and continue to advocate for the passage of important legislation that protects the environment and many of Cayman’s unique endangered species and plants.
“It is evident that forward planning is needed to ensure that our Islands develop in the way we want them to. Rather than taking it step by step, we need to plan our route, for our children’s sake,” said Chamber President Eddie Thompson. Within the next year, the Chamber will launch several programmes and committees that will contribute to this aim such as Leadership Cayman.