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Go Forth and multiply

It's been over a month now since the launch of the new Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce, and member recruitment seems to be vindicating the faith of former staff of Falkirk for Business who opted for the new venture rather than to become employees of Falkirk Council's new in-house Business Gateway unit.

In the current environment, this took guts: in a council job, what you lose in dynamism and job satisfaction you make up for in security. Dynamism seems to be winning out at the new chamber which, partly because of the good name of FFB, is already close to recruiting its 100th member. It has five "premier partners", who pay up to £3000 including Forth FM, and has lined up a tempting array of services to members from other members, from patent services to discounts on payment hardware to healthcare.

The success of the venture is an effective rebuke to those who think the chambers model, a forum for events, and peer-to-peer networking, is being overtaken by social media. In Falkirk as everywhere else, business folk like to see the whites of each other's eyes, rather than their Facebook pages.

Congratulations to the Scottish recipients of the annual Philip Baxendale Awards, the gongs for best performers in the employee-ownership sector.

This year the award for outstanding leadership goes to Dick Philbrick of the East Kilbride forge equipment maker, Clansman Dynamics, while Michelle Quadrelli of Tayport industrial fabrics manucturer, Scott & Fyfe, wins the employee innovation award.

For all its successes, the co-operative and employee-ownership movement in Scotland, which has its own quango, Co-operative Development Scotland (CDS), missed a trick this year by not celebrating the bicentenary of the Lennoxtown Friendly Victualling Society, launched in 1812 by locals "to provide ourselves with the different necessaries of life at the cheapest and easiest terms we can". The society's history, and its demise in 1965, seemed to be news to CDS.

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