Tania Verdonk (photo inset), co-founder and Managing Director of Spirus Marketing in Burwell, Cambridgeshire, has been appointed Chapter Leader of the newly launched East of England chapter of the South African Chamber of Commerce.
The South African Chamber of Commerce aims to promote trade, community and investment into and out of South Africa, working worldwide within communities to encourage networking and business opportunities. Until recently in the UK it has been largely London based, but in 2019 it has announced plans to extend across the country, including the all new East of England chapter. With a general election imminent and the rugby World Cup waiting in the wings, 2019 is looking like a very important year for South Africa.
In Africa there is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child.
For many, their business is like a child, and the idea behind the Chamber’s regional expansion is to make that village more accessible to a wider group. With international politics in a state of ongoing upheaval, it seems a particularly important time to be fostering relationships with other countries and building strong networks to benefit business and communities alike and promote post-Brexit trade opportunities.
In his recent and heavily over-subscribed speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, SA President Cyril Ramaphosa spoke positively about the need for strong relationships and partnerships – both domestic and international – to overcome challenges in economic performance after the difficulties of the last decade. Uplifting, spontaneous and inspiring, the speech resonated strongly with the audience with its outward-looking perspective and embracing of international co-operation and relationships, and was very well received.
The new chapter, which will incorporate businesses and interested individuals across Suffolk, Essex, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire.
It is to be headed up by local business owner Tania Verdonk. Tania has lived and worked in the region for almost 20 years and is an active member of the local community, as well as owning and running her own marketing consultancy.
She said, “I was thrilled to be asked to be the leader of this new chapter. This region has a thriving and very forward-thinking business community and I’m excited to be in a position to bring people together across a wide range of industries. I love living here in the UK and have raised my family here, but I remain very connected to my roots in South Africa, and this opportunity gives me a wonderful chance to bring the two sides of my life together for great community and business benefits.”
In the longer term, there will be a range of local events and initiatives on the agenda across the region. The first priorities however, are to start building this community of like-minded people and businesses.
“Social media lends itself ideally to building the network,” Tania commented. “We have a Facebook page set up so anyone with even the slightest interest can join with no obligations. I’d encourage anyone with South African connections to get involved and “like” the page – even if it’s just an interest in the country! This year is massive for South Africa, with a general election and the rugby world cup – I’d love to help inspire some of the same positivity as we saw back in 1995!”
The chapter is open to anyone who:
- Is South African and runs a business, or could simply benefit from networking with others who do
- Has any business dealings with South Africa
Loves South Africa and its culture, even if they’ve never done business related to it
- Would like to learn new skills and develop business insights through our workshop programme (even if you aren’t South African!)
- Wants to take their business to the next level and actively promote international trading opportunities and commerce.
If the idea appeals and you would like to find out more, just like the Chamber’s Facebook page, or join our group where you will also be able to find out more about upcoming events in the local area, as well as updates from the SA Chamber of Commerce nationwide.
You can also listen to Tania talking to Cambridge 105 about the Chapter and radio DJ, Neil Whiteside, trying some South African delicacies: https://goo.gl/Z5yTBM