9th June 2017
Written by Markus Mostert
At our Business Sundowners held last month concern was expressed that both GBF members and non-members are not always well-informed about the purpose and vision of the Business Forum, or about how they could meaningfully contribute to the activities of the organisation.
According to our constitution the Grahamstown Business Forum aims to create and sustain a supportive and enabling business environment in Grahamstown and surrounding areas. The primary aims and secondary objectives of the GBF are often communicated by the Management Committee, using a number of channels.
All new members are for example subscribed to a Google Groups mailing list (with email address firstname.lastname@example.org) as soon as their first invoices are settled. While we are careful not to clog up members’ mailboxes with unnecessary email messages (which is the reason why we do not post advertisements on the mailing list), we do use it from time to time to disseminate important information about business conditions or about the GBF’s position in relation to other community actions or local government. The mailing list is also set up to allow for members to engage with one another in a closed members-only environment around topics of mutual interest or concern.
Although our Facebook page (search for “Grahamstown Business Forum”) is aimed the general public, we do hope that members will follow the page in order to receive notifications of postings in their mailboxes. Again we only post items relevant to business in our local context. This is one of the platforms where members can advertise their products, services or events.
On the “About” tab of our Facebook page, people will also find a link to our Web site (http://gbforum.org.za/). Apart from our constitution, this website also contains our annual reports which contains a wealth of information about our activities over the last two years, a business directory of all of our members, a “promotions page” where any of our members can have information about specials posted, the texts of our bi-weekly Grocott’s Down to Business columns, membership information and applications, news and upcoming events, and contact details.
Finally, this bi-weekly Down to Business column in Grocott’s Mail often features topics that are directly related to the aims and objectives of the GBF, these links which are made explicit through references to our constitution. The text of these columns are also published on Grocott’s Mail Online.
Acknowledging that new members could possibly find it difficult to find their feet in an established organisation and know how best they can contribute, the Management Committee started arranging a monthly members’ event on the first Thursday of every month. The idea is that this monthly event would be hosted at different venues by different members to provide hosting members with opportunities to promote their businesses. At the first event last night at the Graham Hotel members and prospective members were able to engage around their needs and expectations of a business forum after they got themselves something to drink from the bar.
Finally, since businesswomen seem to be underrepresented in the activities of the Grahamstown Business Forum, a number of events focussing on female business owners are being planned in the near future. A “Divine Breakfast” at 08:00 on Wednesday 14 June at Café d’Vine, 31 New Street will see Grahamstown Sheriff, Annerie Wolmarans relate how she became the first female sheriff in South Africa some 45 years ago. Businesswomen can also look forward to another women-only event planned for Women’s Day on Wednesday 9 August.
New and prospective members are encouraged to email Marlene Mitchener at email@example.com with any questions or concerns that they may have – or to invite the new members to their premises