Did you find your purpose in 2020?
Today, I write to you in my role as CEO of Business SA, the peak body for the business community in South Australia. When 2020 started, never did I imagine that I would be standing on a ladder in Adelaide’s CBD addressing a 150-strong crowd of business owners at breaking point.
In all the twists and turns of 2020, for myself and my team, this was THE defining moment.
It exposed the pure heartache and despair that business owners have endured in the wake of COVID-19.
This show of solidarity from the hospitality sector was raw and emotional. People were open and honest about their fears for the future and in many ways, this was the moment where Business SA, the Chamber of Commerce and Industry for South Australia, truly found its PURPOSE.
In terms of Business SA’s role to support business owners, not only in the hospitality sector but right across South Australia, this moment doubled our resolve to support those who take a risk.
It is the risk takers who will ultimately drive our economy forward from this pandemic. Not business associations, not Governments. Entrepreneurs are our largest employer. They are also creators and seekers of opportunity. It is our role to support them through the good times and bad.
This year saw pivoting, resilience and mental health become words that we have become all too familiar with.
However, these words are much more than cliches. They have helped businesses to survive … and, we say to you all, a very big WELL DONE.
As the State’s independent and local Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Business SA has played its role in supporting 17 different industry sectors in 2020.
When the Summer bushfires devastated South Australia, Business SA personally contacted and offered support to more than 100 businesses impacted by the fires.
We then “pivoted” ourselves, delivering more than 40 virtual events and webinars throughout the year while our Business Advice Hotline answered 12,800 calls from business owners.
We brought together 50 industry associations to discuss their concerns and ideas to assist economic recovery from COVID-19 and later launched a 9 Point Plan to Skyrocket SA.
We held South Australia’s biggest Mentally Healthy Business Breakfast, which was livestreamed across 10 regions and attended by almost 200 business owners and more than 3,200 people online.
Business SA also advocated consistently to Federal Government, State Government and even Local Governments to fight for more financial support for businesses.
But we know it has been you, the business owner, who has done the heavy lifting this year.
We have stood with you, but you have done the hard work and we thoroughly commend you for it.
We wish you and your family a Merry Christmas and success into 2021. We hope you have an opportunity to re-charge over the break and we encourage everyone to buy local this Christmas.
When you support local businesses, you are supporting local jobs. This is something we’ll need more of next year. Also, when you support others, your organisation’s PURPOSE all of a sudden has more clarity and becomes a lot more meaningful.
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With kind regards,
Martin Haese MBA