Borders Business Forum will provide a strong collective voice

The idea of a Borders Business Forum to provide a single, collective, strong voice for the region has the support of over 60 local companies.

“We’ve long called for the creation of a Business Forum,” said Graham Bell, chairman of Scottish Borders Branch of the Federation of Small Businesses.

“There is great merit in creating a collective voice for issues that Borders businesses have in common, whatever their size or sector, and having that voice will be very helpful to everyone”.

Scottish Borders Council and business organisations including the Chamber of Commerce, the Federation of Small Businesses, NFU Scotland and local businesses were all represented at a recent meeting held to explore the idea of creating a single voice for business in the Borders.

There was unanimous agreement amongst the 60 representatives at the meeting that a single Business Forum voice would add both credibility and weight to all company interests, and that while there remained a clear role for existing business organisations, a ‘corporate voice’ would capture greater attention.

James Aitken, convenor of the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce, said: “From the Borders Reivers rugby team to the Borders Railway, this region has often missed out by not having a single, clear business voice.

“I have agreed to help set up the initial board of five people to establish the forum, and the chamber will donate £2,000 to help with these costs.”

SBC’s executive member for economic development, Councillor Stuart Bell offered a council meeting facility and support to set up the Business Forum but stressed that he would not play an active part, as the “Business Forum must absolutely be organised and reflect the interests of its business members, not of the council”.