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Small businesses across the country have just marked the annual and increasingly high-profile Small Business Saturday that marks the importance of such enterprises to the economy.

The work goes on all year round. I recently attended a meeting of dozens of local business leaders where plans were hatched to boost jobs and trade in Wallsend.

The enthusiastic meeting was a "council of war" to look at what we've got and how to whip up support for Wallsend.  We talked about the significant investment we have seen in Wallsend at Swans, the Town Hall, the Forum shopping centre and Segdunum but how we can work together to encourage visitors to the town to increase much needed economic activity and employment.

Representatives from nearly 30 local businesses met at the Swan’s Innovation Centre and decided to form the Wallsend Chamber of Trade & Commerce. It consists of businesses, colleges and voluntary groups and will agree key priorities, lobby policy makers, and alert the public through events, activities and social media.

Small businesses form the spine of our economy and this Wallsend initiative is well worth the while of business people who want to pool their resources for the benefit of all businesses and the whole community.

The Wallsend Chamber of Trade & Commerce is facilitated by North Tyneside Business Forum. The next meeting is on Friday 26th January at the Town Hall Chambers. Local businesses can register their interest by contacting 0191 643 6000 or business.forum@northtyneside.gov.uk

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