Slovak British Chamber wins prestigious prize

THE BRITISH Chamber of Commerce in Slovakia has obtained a prestigious Chamber of the Year 2015 award for its results. 

Christopher Plant (left) with British Ambassador to Slovakia Andrew Garth.Christopher Plant (left) with British Ambassador to Slovakia Andrew Garth.(Source: Courtesy of BCCSR)

"The achievements of this chamber are quite simply breathtaking,” David Thomas, COBCOE Non-Executive Chairman, said when opening the main prize award ceremony hosted in London in mid May. “This chamber is a results oriented chamber…  Ladies and Gentlemen the winners: Slovakia”.

The annual COBCOE Awards are announced by the Council of British Chambers of Commerce in Europe (COBCOE) in eight categories. The main prize, The Chamber of the Year Award, is awarded to the chamber which best demonstrates ground breaking strategy, outstanding achievements, as well as recognition of best practices across the COBCOE European network.

Christopher Plant, chief executive of the British Chamber of Commerce in the Slovak Republic (BCCSR) and chamber coordinator and Kristína Kovácsová attended the ceremony in person and accepted the award.

“This is truly a great honour and also a massive boost for such a chamber as ours in one of the ‘smaller’ countries in Europe and who with limited resources had managed to win such an award against the likes of the larger and more established Chambers such as Belgium, France, Germany and Poland,” said Plant as cited in the chamber’s press release. “We have worked extremely hard together, the time and effort committed by Chairman Quentin Crossley (KPMG), our Vice Chairman/women, Jana Pagáčová (Squire Patton Boggs) and Matthew Farthing, (British International School) the Board of directors, the team, and the contributions of our Patron members and to all our fantastic members, everyone deserves to enjoy this award as recognition of their efforts.”

David Thomas MBE, COBCOE Executive Chairman, later commented that this is a major achievement as it reflects the chamber’s ability to excel in all aspects of chamber management and services delivery for the benefit of the membership and the business community at large.

“This year, the independent panel of judges felt that the BCCSR had not only achieved excellence in providing services, but had also shown impressive growth through its analytical approach and focus on results,” Thomas explained.

Quentin Crossley, chairman of BCCSR added: “It is also a special recognition of Chris’ tireless efforts in building the chamber and our British Slovak business centre into a leading trade platform in Slovakia, and as a benchmark for other chambers around Europe to work towards. This award proves we are certainly on the right path.”

The Council of British Chambers of Commerce in Europe is an independent non-profit umbrella organisation with a network that links over 40 British Chambers of Commerce in Europe, whose business members collectively represent over 8,000 businesses across the whole of Europe. COBCOE has a long and recognised tradition of over 40 years working to advance international trade and business with the United Kingdom. COBCOE works closely with the UK Government, foreign governments, embassies and corporate partners in the spirit of mutual assistance and support. COBCOE is a strategic partner of UKTI and has engaged in successful pilot actions in target markets to support trade and investment.

Plant specified that an important milestone for the chamber was joining the UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) in the Overseas Business Network at the beginning of 2014.

“Since that time, we have been able to invest in a professional team and concentrate our skills, strategies and processes in building a new look chamber from the ground up,” said Plant. “This has definitely strengthened not only our chamber’s profile, but brought better value to all our members. This recognition will reinvigorate our commitment and allow us to continue in our hard work. We have prepared brand new projects and enlarged our services portfolio. On top of that, we are working on opening further operations in Košice (east of Slovakia) very soon”.

The British Chamber of Commerce and Mr. Plant have been very grateful and impressed by the full support of British Ambassador to Slovakia Andrew Garth, who has gone out of his way to help with many of our objectives; the UKTI accreditation program, participated in our board meetings and in all major events since he came to Slovakia in October 2014, the chamber wrote in its press release.

The British Chamber of Commerce in the Slovak Republic was founded in 1998 as a non-governmental organisation in Bratislava. The chamber is dedicated to creating and developing business relationships between the United Kingdom and Slovakia, working diligently to forge new opportunities both foreign and domestic while delivering UK and Slovakia business consultancy, building connections and offering trade and marketing support. 

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