Cham­ber of com­merce boss’s awards ‘de­light’

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - Business Kent Update - By Molly Mile­hamChap­pell

An in­dus­try ex­pert from Ash­ford has been recog­nised for her longterm com­mit­ment to busi­ness in Kent.

Jo James, chief ex­ec­u­tive of Kent In­victa Cham­ber of Com­merce, was awarded the an­nual out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to busi­ness in Kent award at the KEiBA 2017 awards last month at the Kent Event Cen­tre in Detling.

She joins the Hall of Fame list of pre­vi­ous win­ners in­clud­ing phi­lan­thropist Sir Roger De Haan, con­struc­tion gi­ant Pat Gal­lagher and last year’s win­ner, auc­tion­eer Clive Em­son.

Kent In­victa, based at Sev­ing­ton in Ash­ford, pro­vides sup­port to 1,200 com­pa­nies and 3,500 ac­tive clients in the county, and Mrs James has worked for the cham­ber for 26 years.

Speak­ing of the sur­prise award, Mrs James said: “It came out the blue. “I was ab­so­lutely de­lighted. “I was a bit dumb­founded to start with.

“It’s nice that peo­ple think you go above and be­yond. It came as a great sur­prise.”

Mrs James li­aises with gov­ern­ment de­part­ments to get the best out­comes for busi­ness ne­go­ti­a­tions.

Talk­ing about her work, she said: “We’re a voice for busi­nesses on be­half of the Kent com­mu­nity.

“I’m very for­tu­nate to work with a great team of peo­ple in such an en­tre­pre­neur­ial county.

“I’ve been re­ally for­tu­nate that I have a re­ally sup­port­ive fam­ily. It’s not a nine-to-five job. It’s a lot of out of hours.”

Look­ing to the fu­ture, she said: “We’re go­ing to have to adapt to sup­port busi­nesses lead­ing up to and af­ter Brexit.

“We are re­ally very much about ed­u­ca­tion.

“It’s be­ing that voice for busi­nesses – find­ing out what they need is and putting it for­ward to gov­ern­ment.”

The Kent In­victa Cham­ber of Com­merce is a mem­ber­ship or­gan­i­sa­tion that pro­vides a range of busi­ness sup­port ser­vices, such as net­work­ing, in­ter­na­tional trade and busi­ness sup­port, rep­re­sen­ta­tion.

‘It’s nice that peope think you go above and be­yond. It came as a great sur­prise’

Kent In­victa Cham­ber of Com­merce chief ex­ec­u­tive Jo James

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