Murray Bridge Business Alliance plans return to relevance

The association plans to hire a coordinator who can advocate for local businesses under a new, independent structure.

Darrell Moyses, Peri Strathearn and Stephen Walker are among the committee members who have revised the MBBA’s course. Photo: Peri Strathearn/Murray Bridge Business Alliance.

After 18 months of down time, Murray Bridge’s chamber of commerce is ready to start fresh.

The Murray Bridge Business Alliance plans to re-launch in June, with a new structure and a paid coordinator who can act as a single point of contact for local businesses.

Its priorities will include:

  • building a community of local business people by offering networking opportunities, at events and online

  • visiting their businesses and listening to their concerns

  • letting them know about funding and training opportunities

  • lobbying the Murray Bridge council and local MPs on their behalf

Now the search is on for business owners and managers who can help that vision become a reality by joining the MBBA’s committee.

Committee members will get a say in hiring the new coordinator, setting membership fees and shaping the MBBA’s new structure.

Unlike before, the new association will be controlled exclusively by businesses, for businesses.

Member businesses will also get discounted or subsidised access to Business SA services and, in a limited number of cases, Shop Local SA listings.

Committee members seek a clean break from the past

I don’t like to insert myself into a news story, but I am one of the committee members who has reviewed the business alliance’s operations over the past 12 months.

I recognise that, in the past, the MBBA has not always offered value to members, and has been tied too closely to the Murray Bridge council and Regional Development Australia Murraylands and Riverland.

Business owners need an independent association that can listen to them, advocate for their needs and connect them with the other local businesses that will help them succeed, without taking too much of their time or money.

I’m willing to bet the new MBBA will be able to do that, particularly with the help of a paid, part-time coordinator whose job it will be to act in local businesses’ interests.

One of my fellow committee members, Stephen Walker, said a growing business community would help all local businesses grow.

“Murray Bridge has come of age as a regional centre with the construction of the Bridgeport Hotel, the rebuild of Thomas Foods and the affordability of living here,” he said.

“But the MBBA can champion all the things we still need – a metro bus service, for example – that will benefit businesses.”

The Murray Bridge Business Alliance was originally launched in 2017 following the merger of three local business associations: Murray Bridge Business and Tourism, Bridge Street Traders and the Murraylands Enterprise Estate.

Perhaps its best-known initiative was the quarterly business breakfast it presented prior to 2020.

Disclosure: The author is, as stated above, a committee member with the Murray Bridge Business Alliance.

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