25 August 2015
A MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) has been signed between Thames Valley Chamber of Commerce (TVCC) and Osaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) in October 2014.
What was the vital first step in building the relationship and how can we can keep the momentum going?
“THE FIRST STEP – UNDERSTANDING EACH OTHER PROPERLY “
Over the last two years, OCCI and TVCC have established a trusted relationship and more organisations and companies have identified potential business opportunities. However, we are still in the first stage:- understanding each other properly.
When Paul (Paul Britton, Head of Inward Investment, TVCC) and I visited Osaka at the end of June 2015, we met with various organisations such as OCCI, METI (Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry) Kansai, British Consulate General, Osaka Prefectural and Municipal Governments, NEDO (New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation), UII (Urban Innovation Institute) and many more.
During the visit this time, we met more key stakeholders in Osaka and received very positive feedback, including the comment:- “ How did you find each other? I didn’t know Thames Valley before but I can tell now both Osaka and Thames Valley will have great synergy.”
This endorses the words given to me by my friend, who is an UK entrepreneur.“ People see you for the first time; People start liking you; People start trusting you; Then people are happy to do business with you. Never forget building this vital foundation is so important for everyone’s business.”
“HOW TO KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING “
After the MoU was signed, one of the biggest challenges has been how to keep the momentum going and create business opportunities. This can apply to any business scenario. After a ceremonial event or exhibition, once we go back to our daily routines, we tend to lose focus.
In order to keep the momentum going, the following three actions are important:-
1. Setting a point of contact
2. Establishing long term objectives and plans
3. Continuous follow-ups and information exchange
TVCC has set up the Japan Desk and OCCI has appointed the project coordinator, which are the primary contact points for both regions. Particularly when both Chambers of Commerce have many relationships and activities with other regions such as North America and Asia, these contact points can bring the right focus and attention from both Chambers and their member companies.
In terms of the long term objectives and plans, both TVCC and OCCI have agreed the objectives for the coming year and set some milestones, which are the events in December, February, April and July. One of the highlights of the events is “Green Tech Forum in Osaka” in February 2016.
After the milestones are set, continued action such as follow-up and information exchange is vital. With this, we keep the relationship with current stakeholders and also can reach potential companies and organisations, who might be interested in the Osaka-Thames Valley link.
We are all excited about how this relationship evolves.