If you are feeling lonely in your entrepreneurship journey, are focused on business-to-business sales or just want to get to know more business owners in your community, Chambers of Commerce, and Business Associations are a good place to start. These organisations exist to unite businesses in a particular community, but often operate with different goals in mind.
If you’re wondering about the difference between these organisations, hopefully this article it helps you decide where to acquire memberships, or who to network with as you are growing your business.
Chambers of Commerce are defined as, “a voluntary business organization, supported by its member firms to promote the areas economic growth and development”. While the general definition sounds similar to a Business Club, the difference lies in the approach Chambers take to accomplish their goals of promoting an area’s economic growth and development. Any business, in or around the area, can acquire membership to a Chamber and a business can belong to multiple chambers if they wish. There are chambers that cover specific geographic regions and others that cover huge expanses.
Chambers often offer specific benefits to members like insurance packages, discounts for certain services and educational opportunities. Advocacy is really at the core of every Chamber. For this reason, Chambers often serve as a primary channel for communication between government organisations, policy makers and business owners. They host networking/marketing events and lobby for the interests of their members.
Business Associations are trickier to define because they do not have a rigid structure. They are almost always born from a group of entrepreneurs and usually collect membership fees as a source of funding for their projects. Business Associations can also operate similar to Chambers. The structure of a Business Association is really defined by the people who run it and the interest they have in their businesses and communities.
Chances are that in Portugal you will find Chambers of Commerce representing almost all countries that have a diplomatic presence here, like British Chamber of Commerce, Chambre de Commerce Luso-Française, Indian Chamber of Commerce, etc. If it does not, there is Portuguese Chamber of Commerce, a national organisations that offer memberships to business owners.
“Being an entrepreneur, and the President of Portugal Business Owners club that helps all expat business owners to create or grow their business in Portugal, I have the opportunity to meet with staff and members of some of these organisations too. It has been an asset to me as through this experience I can help more making the difference at our business club, where we really know what it means to be a business owner outside of your country.
Therefore, if you are an entrepreneur or business owner looking to get more involved in your community and meet other entrepreneurs, I 100% encourage you to look into the Portugal Business Owner club”. Joaquim Liso|President