Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Geneva Chamber of Commerce

The final technical visit of the day and for the trip was to Geneva’s Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber brings together over 2,000 businesses from all sectors and sizes together for networking, coaching, and business growth.  The chamber is a privately held organization and consists of 75% of the private sector within Geneva.

One of the Chamber’s main goals is to provide international arbitration services. The Swiss export many of their products and 40% of the people working in Geneva depend on foreign markets.  Geneva is also the 2nd largest city in the world for congress and exhibition.  Because of this, many services are needed for foreign diplomats, their families, and international travelers.

It was fascinating to see that the Chamber of Commerce there runs much in the same manner as our ones back home.  They consist of members who pay a fee to join and then have access to business services and meet regularly to discuss community improvements and business strategies.  The chamber is also the holder of much of the economic and local business information.  One key difference for the Geneva Chamber is that 50% of their incoming money comes from product passports that they sell.  With Geneva being an international capital, often time products must come and go in and out of the country.  The Chamber has the ability to issue passports for these products to make the travel of these products easier.

For me, this was one of my favorite presentations.  I have a real interest in the idea of global business strategies and the international arbitration that organizations such as this one performs.  Also, the fact that the Chamber in another far off country runs so similar to my small town Chamber amazes me.  Its comforting to see that small town and large-sized business have so much in common at the roots.

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