The Competition, organized by ICC World Chambers Federation (WCF) every two years since 2003, is the only global programme to reward chambers of commerce for their most innovative projects. The four categories open to contestants this year are: Best Corporate Social Responsibility; Best Small Business; Best International Cooperation; and Best Unconventional projects.
“We’ve extended the Competition deadline by popular demand. We want as many chambers as possible to benefit from this opportunity to raise their profile and inspire others,” said WCF Chair Rona Yircali. “The award’s international recognition helps give chambers more influence and provide better services for their own business communities.”
One of the projects to win in 2009 was a partnership between the Hambantota District Chamber of Commerce in Sri Lanka and the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce (GMCC) in the UK, set up to redevelop a local economy in Sri Lanka after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. The project involves staff, retirees, associates and member companies in Manchester, working in a voluntary capacity with colleagues at the Hambantota Chamber. Since winning the Competition, they have extended their partnership for a further three years.
Drew Thomas, who coordinates the project for GMCC, said: “Winning the award raised the profile of our partnership’s work within our organization and externally. It encouraged more of our own staff and business members to get involved too. One of our chamber members from the travel and tourism industry offered to advise on developing further tourism in the South East of Sri Lanka. We’ve also had interest and support from government bodies in both countries. It’s meant that we can do even more development work with the chamber in Sri Lanka.”
Other winners of the 2009 Competition include a Norwegian project to reduce the number of foreign workers withdrawing early from contracts, a scheme to introduce dual vocational training in Madagascar, with advice from the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and the Torino Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s support for the automotive industry in Italy’s Piemonte region.
In 2009, donations from companies allowed cash prizes to be awarded to winning projects. The opportunity is still open for sponsors to come forward for the 2011 Competition.
Finalists will present their projects to an international panel of judges at the 7th World Chambers Congress on 8-10 June 2011 in Mexico City. Winners will be announced at an award ceremony during the final day of the Congress.