Our Huddersfield caught up with Martin Hathaway, managing director of Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce.
So Martin, could you describe what your organisation does?
The Mid Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce aims to connect, support and represent businesses across the Halifax, Huddersfield and Wakefield regions. We are proud to be a British Chambers of Commerce accredited Chamber.
Our mission is to drive growth among businesses of all sizes across the districts, by providing relevant and valuable support and benefits.
We pride ourselves on representing three districts as one Chamber – #MYChamber.
How many staff do you employ?
We have a team of 14.
What does your role entail?
As Managing Director, I oversee our operations at every level, and ensure that our benefits, events and services are serving the business communities in Halifax, Huddersfield and Wakefield.
A large part of my role also involves pioneering our representation services and campaigning for relevant business support for our areas and members. This is done both locally and nationally, working closely with our partners at the West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, the LEP, the West Yorkshire Combined Authority and the British Chambers of Commerce.
What attracted you to start/operate your business in Huddersfield?
The Chamber in Huddersfield has been around for almost 170 years, driving forward growth in the area. When I joined the Chamber in 2014, I was keen to support this drive and expand our services. We have since created some fantastic initiatives, including MYKickstart and Chamber Talent, and significantly strengthened our partnership with businesses and authorities.
Could you tell Our Huddersfield some of your biggest business achievements?
Personally, my biggest achievements include being the MD of YourRail, the first company in the UK to deliver rail tickets to mobile phones, and being the Chair of Partnership Investment Finance, which has invested £47 million into Yorkshire businesses.
Most recently, it has been incredibly rewarding to establish the Mid Yorkshire Chamber Business Awards, which are now in their second year of recognising local talent and success.
Can you share any recent positive or significant news about your organisation?
We recently launched our brand-new website and member’s area which is a portal where members can collaborate, connect and access and share resources, advice and information.
We are also gearing up for MY Conference Kirklees on 29 March 2023 and The John Smith’s Stadium. It will be a fantastic event uniting the local business communities. Keep your eyes peeled for our speaker announcements coming soon!
What advice would you give to someone looking to set up or relocate their business in Huddersfield?
I would say to go for it. Huddersfield is a fantastic place to establish a business, we have a thriving community here with businesses operating in a range of sectors and specialisms.
The University of Huddersfield, as well as our local colleges and apprenticeship providers, are doing incredible work in preparing and developing our future workforce. I hope that these young people can truly see the value in our fantastic town and will choose to progress their careers here in Yorkshire.
What are your hopes for Huddersfield 10 years from now?
I hope that in ten years’ time the Huddersfield town centre redevelopment plans have been successful, and we are now enjoying a vibrant town centre once again.
I am keen to continue work with local, regional and national bodies regarding transport links in and around Huddersfield and am hopeful that in 10 years, progress will have been made.
On a personal level, what do you love most about the town?
Huddersfield has a great mixture of heritage and future ambition.
Where is your favourite place to eat/drink in Huddersfield?
Da Sandro – great and atmosphere and delicious food!
Are there any recommendations or local knowledge you’d like to share with a visitor?
Take advantage of local networking opportunities. We’re a friendly breed here in Yorkshire and are always keen to connect and collaborate with other firms. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend checking out one of these events.
At the Chamber, we host over 60 events each year across our three districts, so there is something for everyone and every business!
What is your opinion on Kirklees’ Council’s plans/aim/objectives for the ‘Cultural Heart’?
I think the plans look fantastic and will certainly drive footfall and investment into the town centre. It will be interesting to learn how the plans can ripple throughout the rest of Kirklees to boost the community as a whole.
What is your opinion on Huddersfield University’s plans/aim/objectives for the Health Innovation Centre?
I think the vision for the centre is incredibly strong and builds on the existing reputation and results of the University’s health and medicine offerings. A hub of this sort is needed in the north to truly allow our talent to be nurtured and developed in an innovative environment.
What is your opinion on the TransPennine rail route upgrade?
I am fully behind the upgrading of the TransPennine rail route. Transport in our area is significantly under-served. People in our region need access to better quality, reliable transport to access better jobs, better education opportunities and boost the economy.
While any progress is welcomed, I worry that the current plans do not go far enough. All of our northern communities need to access these improvements, or we risk isolating pockets of our society. We also need to ensure that we are sufficiently connected to other areas of the UK rather than just internally in the north to truly level up.
Is there anything else we haven’t asked you think might be interesting for visitors to the site to read?
We are now taking exhibitor bookings for MY Conference Kirklees, our flagship event that showcases the very best of local business.
Alongside an exhibition of over 50 businesses there are also expert speakers, a networking breakfast and tours of The John Smith’s Stadium taking place. To find out more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Website Link: www.my-chamber.co.uk
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