6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Kent Life today CLICK HERE

Meet Tim Kidd, CEO of Kent Channel Chamber of Commerce

PUBLISHED: 12:30 07 June 2014

Tim Kidd

Tim Kidd

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

Understanding the importance of networking and encouraging international export

On a baking hot day in Folkestone the roof terrace of The Workshop in Tontine Street seemed the perfect place for 
a photoshoot with the new ceo of Kent Channel Chamber of Commerce.

Looking down across the rooftops of 
The Creative Quarter to the sparkling English Channel, it is easy to see why Tim Kidd is so happy to be right in the centre of town and part of a “really exciting building.”

The Workshop is Folkestone’s new business hub, a growing, ever-changing home of innovarive businesses.

Most recently home to Pipers nightclub, today the five-story space plays host to a buzzing pool of talent. And with its aim to add value to businesses in East Kent, 
where better to find the region’s very own Chamber and its new man at the top?

The father of two was appointed in November 2013 and seized the chance 
to move the Chamber from Shearway Business Park to its new home.

Born in Twickenham, Tim’s family moved to Canterbury when he was six and Kent is definitely ‘home.’ He attended 
The Archbishop’s School (as does his 
son Benjamin, 15, his daughter Lucy 
will start in September) and lives just outside the cathedral city he loves.

Tim, 40, has worked in East Kent businesses most of his life, starting out in retail then the travel industry. For the last 10 years, he was general manager for BNI Kent, the business networking organisation based in Littlebourne but with a global reach (Tim was involved with BNI in Spain, Malaysia, Vietnam and South Korea).

This experience proved the ideal background for his current role. “What I really wanted to do after BNI was still work with small businesses, helping them get better at promoting themselves. This was an ideal opportunity for me to continue with what I was doing and build on the great networks I already have in East Kent,” he tells me.

The Channel Chamber was founded in 1899 and is, together with Invicta, one of only two accredited Chambers in Kent. It looks after 250-300 members and about 10,000 non-members in the wider business economy. However, the new ceo is keen to increase membership up to 1,000, and the signs so far this year are good. “We’re recruiting heavily and my networking background is coming in useful,” he says.

Why should a business in the Thanet, Dover and Shepway district join their local Chamber? “We provide the information, advice and services which help ensure the business success of our members at a local level, but also act as a gateway to a vast national network and a host of nationwide benefits, advice and influence,” says Tim.

“We connect and promote people and represent them as far as policies are concerned and increase their profits where we can. For example, we offer members a healthcare policy for employees, AA insurance and recovery, plus free 24x7 legal help.”

“We also encourage our members to work with and support other members. I’ve seen examples of 
great referrals coming from one-man 
bands that’s meant huge business for bigger companies.

“We create a level playing field and 
the more engagement they have with 
us, the more we can do for them.”

Monthly breakfast networking briefings are held in each region, using different members’ venues, such as the Turner Contemporary and Quex Barn, with a 
guest speaker each time. On 4 June, for example the managing partner of Dynamix Accountancy will speak in Folkestone, .

The importance of social media is not underestimated as a networking tool 
and a Social Media Academy has just 
been launched in east Kent, following 
the popularity of one introduced in 
West Kent 18 months ago (see page 109).

So what does Tim want for the Channel Chamber of Commerce? “I want us to be the essential resource for every business person in our region, helping them in 
every way we can,” he says. “That involves dealing with representatives of local councils, with KCC and with national Government, working out what funding opportunities are available for local regeneration on both a county and district level, working out the funding opportunities for different projects and getting involved in apprenticeships.”

And of course ‘local’ is key. “The 
beauty of Chambers is their strong local knowledge and the way they can really impact on what goes on in towns and villages around where they’re working.

“Although we’re backed up by a national organisation, localism is something we’re really keen on, so we get involved in Folkestone, Dover, Thanet and Margate 
to help regenerate those areas, working closely with each of the councils.

“Regeneration in East Kent has a long way to go, we have had a major kickback with Manston closing, but certainly in Folkestone there is a lot being done at the moment in the Creative Quarter, the Turner Contemporary has had such a huge impact on Margate and Dover has just had their good news of a massive building programme in the centre.

“There are green shoots throughout 
the region and we are trying to get as 
much European and national funding into our areas as we can, giving our members – who range from one-man band plumbers 
to multi-million pound companies - a voice at both regional and national level.” n

More from People

Chris Wiggins on how his childhood love of horses and the outdoors led to the career he loves

Read more
March 2019

Canterbury artist James Bland on figurative painting and the alchemy of oils

Read more
February 2019
Thursday, February 28, 2019

Following a 16-month construction project, the new museum has opened its doors to visitors, offering them the chance to experience the inspirational history of Britain’s most famous airfield

Read more
March 2019
Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Take a step back in time to the good old days with these vintage videos from around Kent

Read more

We are delighted to announce that the second Kent Life and The Canterbury Auction Galleries’ competition to find the county’s finest collectors is now open for entries

Read more
Tuesday, January 22, 2019

This rural retreat in a converted Victorian granary provides an organic and holistic spa service that’s all about ageing well

Read more
January 2019

This month, the National Trust is encouraging us all to embrace the wintery weather conditions and get out of doors, whatever the forecast may say

Read more
January 2019

Whether it’s in our professional or personal lives, sometimes we could all do with a little direction and clarity. Meet four inspirational life coaches

Read more
January 2019

Catherine’s subject matter is a very personal response to her surroundings

Read more
December 2018
Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Anthony Fleck on swapping fruit farming for geese and turkeys and how the tradition of eating goose at Christmas is returning

Read more
December 2018

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search

Most Read

Latest from the Kent Life