What is a Chamber of Commerce and what is its role?

Read our guide to what a Chamber of Commerce is, how it works, and how it can help your business grow and succeed.

Helen Cockle

As a business owner, you might have come across or heard of the Chamber of Commerce. A national chamber of commerce can significantly impact businesses. Keep reading for our guide to what a Chamber of Commerce is, how it works, and how it can help your business grow and succeed.

Definition of a Chamber of Commerce

A Chamber of Commerce, sometimes referred to as a Board of Trade, is a body made up of business owners. While it does not create laws or regulations, such Chambers tend to have a great influence on legislators when it comes to lobbying. The Chamber members network with each other and help guide legislation on business matters in their region. This often means supporting legislation that enables small businesses through eg programs, campaigns, and schemes. They are seen as authoritative figures in the business landscape.

Of course, for local business owners, being in the Chamber of Commerce can bring significant advantages. Being a member can provide networking opportunities and allow for a business to influence legislation and become part of a community of member businesses. Also, members are listed in a valuable members directory and often benefit from exclusive deals or discounts from fellow members.

Chairs and desks in old chamber
A Chamber of Commerce, sometimes referred to as a Board of Trade, is a body made up of business owners.

Chamber of Commerce Example

Let us have a look at a practical example of a chamber of commerce.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) were formed in 1860. It is made up of 53 Accredited Chambers and counts c. 100,000 members with over 5,000,000 employees.

The different Chambers are scattered around the United Kingdom. Each local chapter is a key asset for business growth in their local community. The London Chamber of Commerce & Industry is the largest of the community Chambers.

The BCC's purpose is to support local businesses, provide resources for business growth, and enable relationships in the local business community. It also provides a connection point between businesses and state and local government. The BCC does not focus on a specific area of business or sector - any business can use the Chamber to seek support, influence legislation, or use networking opportunities.

If a business, for example, has a concern, they can raise it with their local Chamber. They then discuss the concern and possibly address it with the local Council or even take it to the BCC and thereby a national level. The BCC could then raise the concern with national policymakers.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) were formed in 1860.

How does the Chamber of Commerce work?

Chambers of Commerce have regular meetings. The BCC holds an annual conference in Westminster. These events are often attended by senior politicians and business leaders. In some cases, high-ranking members of the BCC will also be invited to offer perspectives on business-related matters in Parliamentary Committees.

Westminster tube sign
The BCC holds an annual conference in Westminster.

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