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I wanted to get the lowdown on the Dublin Chamber – A Network Overview, as part of my series of interviews on different networks. So it’s always a pleasure getting the opportunity to chat and catch up with Rob Cullen, Membership Officer, of the Dublin Chamber.
It’s important for businesses to understand what is available to them for their business development and networking purposes
So let’s get down to it.
Dublin Chamber is the voice of business in the Dublin region. It is Ireland’s largest Chamber representing 1,300+ companies and brings a strategic focus on #ConnectingDublin & creating a #BetterDublin.
As the business representatives for Dublin, the Chamber is steeped in policy making, lobbying government, connecting all of the local stakeholders with the common aim of making Dublin better.
As with all networks, it’s important to understand who is involved in order to assess the suitability of the network as part of the overall sales and marketing plan for any business.
As with all Chambers, membership of the Dublin Chamber spans Business to Business (B2B) and Business to Consumer (B2C) companies, however for the most part it tends to be slanted towards B2B companies.
Membership Tiers and Costs
There are three principle categories for businesses to get involved in the Chamber, all of which offer a tiered level of benefits to companies.
- Corporate: 100+ employees – €5500
- Medium Businesses: 10-100 employees – €1600
- Small Businesses: 1-10 employees – €550
Rob clarified that there is an element of flexibility around the categories, depending on what the business person needs to achieve and the types of connections that will help their business grow. It’s always best to have a chat with Rob to find out how to best leverage the membership.
The Chamber also runs a ‘Maximise Your Membership’ training a few times a year. Well worth doing in order to extract the best value possible.
There are a number of payment options available, which no doubt many businesses will welcome, as there is so much uncertainly out there due to #Covid19. Connect in with Rob to find out more.
As with all networks, a key benefit is the networking. I wanted to find out how the Dublin Chamber manages its networking events and what options there are for the members.
In conversation, Rob said the he feels that the fact that there aren’t geographic boundaries placed around online networking, that this is a great opportunity for new and deep connections.
He also mentioned the fact that all events are networking opportunities. He advised members to think more laterally around topics. Some people may think a topic is not related to them at all, but yet it might give them access to a new group of people to connect with.
There were and are a number of networking opportunities available in the Dublin Chamber.
- Business Owners Network, also known as the BON. This happens the last Friday of each month. When in real life, it’s hosted in the Dublin Chamber offices from 7.30am – 9am. Informal networking is open from 7am, propped up with coffee and pastries.
- Since #Covid19, this meeting is now the Virtual BON. In order to keep the networking opportunities open, people are divided into networking rooms where they can connect for a short space of time with other business owners for a brief catch up or introduction before the full meeting is hosted by Wendy Stunt and Alec Drew.
- Competitive Edge – keeping businesses up to date and apprised of important changes in the business landscape, e.g. Brexit, Policy and so much more.
- Sustainability Events – keeping businesses connected on the latest developments and news around environmental planning and making sure we are greening our businesses in the best way possible.
- Momentum Series – sponsored by Ulster Bank – this involves panel discussions with successful business owners who discuss their growth and journeys heretofore.
- Annual Gala Dinner – this has always been a highlight of the business calendar for many people. In 2020, due to lockdown, there is no gala dinner. Catherine Moroney, current Dublin Chamber President, will continue in this role for 2021 and it is hoped that she will have the opportunity of hosting this prestigious event next year.
Since Covid19 Rob has noticed an increase uptake on people attending the networking events, which is fantastic. More people from the same company are attending because there are no geographical boundaries and they can get involved from the comfort of their home or office, as the case may be.
As part of continuing to enhance the membership value, Dublin Chamber have come to an arrangement with the Digital Institute of Ireland. All chamber members get free access to 10-12 online courses. This is a super resource to be able to avail of, particularly for people, who might have a little bit more time on their hands during lockdown.
They have also partnered with Google to work with businesses who want to scale and grow their brands and their online footprint, as an example.
There is always a full list of the events available to check out and get involved in.
Other things that the Dublin Chamber has introduced since #Covid19 is their #SupportLocal directory, which is open to members and non-members as a way of promoting out businesses.
You can also fill out the form directly and get your business listed today!
There is now a weekly newsletter showcasing member companies to help support their businesses. This has a 5000 person reach. Generally there are 10-15 places available for businesses, so another great opportunity to get your brand and company ‘out there’.
They continue to work on the PR and publicity side of things through harnessing their relationships with the Irish Daily Mirror, Dublin City FM and indeed the Irish Times Business Supplement to ensure that their members are top of mind and receive various publicity opportunities throughout the year.
There is an active Linkedin Group for the Dublin Chamber, boasting 5000 contacts. Members can post and share their news and developments on this important platform.
Within this platform there is also a Covid Support Group to help businesses find resources and support as appropriate to their needs.
The Dublin Chamber really helps businesses that are looking to scale and internationalise their operations.
Further services that are offered include:
- Consular service
- Visa processing
- Export documentation/carnets
- Trade missions, e.g. USA, Hong Kong
Enterprise Europe Network (EEN)
Dublin Chamber run the EEN in Ireland. It covers 64 countries and essentially acts as a support network for businesses who want to go global. Dublin Chamber can act as a matchmaking service.
What’s New and Upcoming
2021 will see a continued focus on supporting members, through policy, Brexit supports, education, wellness and sustainability events, plus much more. They are in the process of integrating a new online tool to really enhance the networking opportunities between members. This will be an exciting development for the Chamber members.
I’m a firm believer in being a part of the local chamber for your area. The work that they do, outside of networking, in lobbying government, fighting for business owners’ needs is absolutely a crucial part of the business landscape and how things get done.
Only with continued support from businesses will they be able to achieve the goals to help and support the wider business community.
Reaching Out To Find Out More
If you’d like to chat with Rob Cullen about becoming a member in 2021, reach out to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have other ideas and suggestions, I’d love to hear them. You can reach out to me at email@example.com.
Let’s keep the #networking conversation going! You can join my mailing list too and I’d love to have you on board.
If you like the article, please do share it on to help someone else who might benefit from this message and knowledge.