History of the Dover District Chamber of Commerce
Founded in 1850, the Dover District Chamber of Commerce operates in close liaison with the Thanet & East Kent Chamber providing the largest business support organisation in the East Kent coastal business community. Strong representation for members at the highest levels of government is assured through the backing of Chamber Presidents Charlie Elphiicke MP, Sir Roger Gale MP and Laura Sandys MP.
The Chamber is also represented on many committees and boards where the commercial interests of members are promoted and safeguarded. Increasingly close relations with Dover District Council and Dover Town Council ensure that members are kept informed and updated on a wide range of issues that impact on their business. As an example, in the last ten years, every planning application supported by the Chamber has been passed and that includes the continuance of motor racing at Lydden, the financing of Betteshanger Sustainable Energy and Mining Heritage Park, the development of Farthingloe & Western Heights and the expansion of East Kent College. The Chamber has been a prime force in the plans for a National War Memorial on Dover’s White Cliffs, reforms to the management of the Port of Dover and support for local charities such as Dover Counselling Centre.
The Chamber organises regular events to boost sales and assist members with new customer leads. As host of the East Kent Banking, Finance and Investment Conference, the Chamber addressed directly best practice in money management and the issue of finding capital for expansion. Speakers from the Bank of England were joined by senior figures from Handelsbanken, the Post Office, the European Union and Kent County Council. Business breakfasts throughout the year enable members to keep up to date with local developments and profit opportunities without impacting unduly on their working day.
The Chamber organises the largest corporate golf tournament in East Kent. The much celebrated annual Chamber Golf Day at the Royal St George’s Golf Club in Sandwich provides a convivial atmosphere and most useful networking session at one of the world’s top sporting venues.
The Chamber publishes a monthly Portrait of Dover which gives updated economic data on the East Kent coastal business community and is made available to members along with the latest edition of the Chamber’s Dover Business News. The Chamber’s opinion on business issues is a regular feature on BBC South East and ITV Meridian when the concerns of members receive a public airing.
The annual diary published by the Chamber has become the standard business directory for companies trading in East Kent and is made available to key buyers and decision-makers in the public and private sectors. All registered chamber members are listed in alphabetical order of company name and in a classified section by business type.
Following the demise of the regional Business Link service in March 2011, the Chamber launched the East Kent Business Advice Clinic which by appointment offers free professional and completely confidential advice from a panel of senior lawyers, accountants, bank managers and entrepreneurs. A fund of around £1 million is available to invest in expanding forward-looking companies.