Friday, 13th January, 2023
Welcome to 2023!  Hopefully you will have had some down time to spend with loved ones over the past few weeks and re-charge your energy levels for the year ahead. 
2022 was challenging in many ways, both business and personal. The threat of Covid constantly hanging over us making it difficult to plan very far ahead, increased costs for just about everything, and the unseasonal weather that has destroyed crops across the region and left many feeling deflated, have all contributed to a year that was difficult to navigate for many of us.

Like many people I know, the new year starts with a hope that things will be easier this year compared with last year. There will be challenges ahead as we deal with the aftermath of 2022 and whatever else gets thrown at us during 2023. The thing that will make a difference is the way that we deal with the challenges.  At the end of last year, a website was developed that gives people access to support with health and wellbeing. was setup as a joint effort between Business Spread, EPIC, and the Chamber of Commerce, with the aim of supporting our communities through these difficult times.  The Auckland Chamber of Commerce has been working on another site, which also has links to free support.

The new year is conisdered a time when people take a closer look at where they are at and what they would like to achieve in their lives.  From a business perspective, what are you going to do differently this year to grow your business and support your staff?  The Chamber can help through our education and networking events, or access to co-funded support through the Regional Business Partnership program in association with MBIE and Callaghan Innovation. 

2023 is also the year of the HEG Business Excellence Awards run by the Eastern Bay Chamber of Commerce.  The event is the highlight of the business calendar and showcases the amazing business talent that we have in the region.  More details will be coming out soon about the categories and how you can enter your business.  The process involves looking at what you do well as well as some feedback on what you could do better. It’s a great way to promote your business while getting feedback from the panel of judges.

As well as business goals, I also like to look at my personal goals. What do I want to learn or do to make my life more meaningful to me, my family, and the community?  Many community-based organisations are run by volunteers.  Just about every organisation I have spoken to over the past year have been struggling to find volunteers. If one of your goals is to volunteer some of your time within the community, reach out to one that matches your interests.  There are a wide range of organisations out there.  Some of our member organisations in the Not-For-Profit space are: Alzheimers Society, Big Brother Big Sisters, Citizens Advice Bureau Whakatāne, Hospice BoP, Life Education Trust, Theatre Whakatāne.  There are also a lot of sports clubs and community organisations not on our mailing lists that are looking for new people to join their organisations. Why not try something different outside of work? Perhaps join a club with other family members?  It can be a very rewarding way of using your time and gives you something fun to focus on.

2023 is the year to do something for yourself, your family, your friends, and your community. I’m looking forward to this year and the challenges and growth that it will bring.

Kind regards, 

Andrew Watson 
General Manager 

Eastern Bay Chamber of Commerce