Business South Update

12 April 2021

Dear members

Following the vote in October 2020 to bring together the Otago Chamber of Commerce (OCCI) and the Otago Southland Employers’ Association (OSEA), there has been a considerable amount of work happening at the new ‘Business South’.  This is the first of a series of regular updates to share developments and seek feedback as we advance down the path of this merger. 

It is an exciting and productive time as we look to the future and embrace the opportunities presented by consolidation, which include providing members with enhanced services and support, and ensuring a stronger collective voice.
On behalf of the transitional ‘Business South’ Board, here is an update on our recent progress.

CEO appointment process

Applications have now closed for this key appointment, a role that will lead and shape the operations of ‘Business South’.
We were pleased to receive a large number of applications, and the shortlisting process is now underway.
We will undertake first interviews next week, and hope to be in a position to announce the successful applicant in May.

Becoming incorporated

‘Business South’ is applying to become an incorporated society, the next step in formalising the merger between OCCI and OSEA.

At this stage, however, it remains business as usual for both OCCI and OSEA, which continue to operate independently with their own boards and staff.
We would also like to highlight that ‘Business South’ is a transitional name – hence the quotation marks – and it is clear there are some challenges with it.  We will seek collaboration from both members and staff before determining a permanent name, to ensure it is one we can all feel proud of.

Membership fees

We are in the process of reviewing our new membership fee structure.  Our clear objective is to ensure all members receive value for money and clarity about their membership.  We aim to provide further details shortly. 

Future planning

The purpose of the merger of OCCI and OSEA is to provide improved representation and advocacy, and to strengthen the value and services we deliver to all members across the region.  As we review and develop strategies and services, it is important that we understand member feedback – both on our existing services, and suggestions of others you consider ‘Business South’ should provide to members across the region.  We will provide details on this process soon.
We have also recently welcomed Dunedin-based Project Manager, Stanley Hebden, to the ‘Business South’ team, to oversee the alignment of OCCI and OSEA.  Stanley has a strong business background, having held executive management and senior marketing roles with companies such as Southfuels, Polson Higgs, Bunnings and Avis Budget Group. 

Thank you

Finally, I would like to thank you all for your patience as we work to make this transition a success.  Your continued support is much appreciated.
I look forward to updating you again in a fortnight – take care until then.

Neil Finn-House | Chair | 'Business South’ Board of Directors
If you have any feedback, please email


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