AS the new President of East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce, this is my first column for the Barrhead News.

The Chamber has been running since 1975 and I am the 19th person to serve as President – and the third woman in the role.

Last week, I attended our East Renfrewshire Business Awards in the stunningly-refurbished Dalmeny Park House Hotel, which was hosted by the sharp-witted Elaine C Smith.

The real stars of the show were, however, the businesspeople in the room, waiting nervously to find out if they were to be the recipients of one of the hotly-contested category awards.

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They are the shining examples of the entrepreneurial wave of creativity and economic drive and are transforming the economic landscape in East Renfrewshire by thinking differently and doing it better than their competitors.

The awards are an opportunity for them to explain what they have achieved and how they achieved it, as well as thinking about what they want to do next.

With once-in-a-generation opportunities such as the £44million Glasgow City Region Deal, East Renfrewshire Council’s masterplan developments in Barrhead and Newton Mearns, plus major projects in the area such as the recently-announced nursery expansions, we are in the midst of a physical transformation of East Renfrewshire – and the Chamber is right at the centre of it.

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Our network extends across the public sector, principal contractors, supply chain businesses, charities, small and home-based business. We want our members to win contracts and grow with the support of a truly strong business community.

A fantastic initiative we launched last year aims to help our members cut through the difficulty of not knowing who to contact within the large contractors winning major projects in the area.

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When a company is awarded a project, we approach them to gain their consent to publish the name and email of the supply chain manager, plus their sub-contractor application form. This cuts out the time, and often painful process, involved when trying to find this information alone.

This exemplifies the type of practical activity I want the Chamber to undertake to help strengthen the local business community.

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