Business group marks 160th anniversary

It was an evening of celebration for Business South last night as the business group acknowledged both its past and its future.

More than 160 people marked the 160th anniversary of the Otago Chamber of Commerce — the celebration having been delayed a year by Covid-19 — at a function at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery.

The Dunedin Chamber of Commerce was formed in 1861 during the Otago gold rush as the city enjoyed an economic boom but was hampered by inadequate infrastructure. Its name was changed to the Otago Chamber of Commerce in 1965.

In 2020, members of the Otago Chamber of Commerce and Otago Southland Employers’ Association voted to merge, creating the new entity Business South.

A new strategy was outlined by chief executive Mike Collins, who said the organisation gave the region an influential voice on important issues by advocating with purpose, attracting new businesses to the region and building a strong economy.

It facilitated meaningful connections, partnershps and collaborations by developing a supportive business community showcasing regional success.

Grand Casino chief executive Dominique Dowding and Business South chief executive Mike Collins...
Grand Casino chief executive Dominique Dowding and Business South chief executive Mike Collins catch up during a celebratory function at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery last night. PHOTO: CHRISTINE O’CONNOR

Business South belonged to the country’s two largest and most influential business networks, Business NZ and the New Zealand Chamber of Commerce. It was also a member of the southern regional chamber hub, with Wanaka, Queenstown and Southland chambers.

Collectively, they shared a commitment to business growth, innovation, sustainability and success, Mr Collins said.

The Grand Business South Awards, which Business South is co-hosting with the Grand Casino, were also launched. Applications open on July 4 and the awards will be held on November 18.


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