The British Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia (BritCham) has operated under various guises since the late sixties. It began with a modest start approximately thirty years ago, as an initiative of the then Ambassador, Sir John Ford, to facilitate informal gatherings of British businessmen at the Indonesian Petroleum Club. In September 1975, it was notarised as an association representing British business interests in Indonesia and quickly evolved into a serious business organisation. In recognition of its role in the Indonesian business community, an Extraordinary General Meeting of Members decided by unanimous vote in December 1998 that the then Indonesian British Business Association (IBBA) should become a Chamber of Commerce. As a result, the British Chamber of Commerce in Indonesia came into being on 1st April 1999. BritCham now enjoys a membership encompassing over 550 individuals including the vast majority of British owned companies operating in Indonesia plus Indonesian members who have commercial links with Britain.
BritCham’s mission statement is:
“To actively promote, encourage and assist the continuation and growth of trade and investment relations between Indonesia and Britain.”
BritCham’s principal objectives in achieving its mission are to:
• Represent the interests, in Indonesia, of British business, particularly to Government and other key decision makers.
• Keep the membership informed of economic and political developments.
• Assist UK and Indonesian companies, especially SME’s, with market entry.
• Assist in the identification and dissemination of business opportunities to those who have an interest in developing business relations between Britain and Indonesia.
• Promote the contribution being made by British business activities to the development of Indonesia.
A non-executive Board of Management, with a British Chairman and an Indonesian Vice-Chairman, supervises the activities of BritCham. The Board consists of 22 members, five of which are of Indonesian nationality, and is supported by a full-time professional Secretariat consisting of an Executive Director and six staff. To serve its members, BritCham maintains a well-resourced secretariat located at Wisma Metropolitan 1 in Jakarta. The office provides meeting facilities, information resources, computer, telephone and fax facilities, as well as access to the Internet.
The Chamber has traditionally been an important source of timely and reliable information on current topics of business interest, and so continues to organise an intensive programme of regular events for its membership including breakfast meetings, lunches and networking evenings in addition to the programmes of its sector groups. At present these groups cover the aerospace, energy, healthcare, human resources, infrastructure, insurance, and manufacturing and retail sectors. BritCham also publishes a newsletter each month and maintains a web site (www.britcham.or.id) providing news on coming events, important business and political developments and other issues in Indonesia and the UK.
The breakfast and lunch functions involve key note speakers from the Indonesian Cabinet and Government, International Financial Institutions, Universities, local political advisers, British media representatives and the local business community, as well as visiting business leaders and Ministers / politicians from the United Kingdom. The monthly networking event provides an opportunity for members and non-members alike to mix in an informal atmosphere and to expand their range of contacts, exchange information, and share experiences and opportunities in their own business sectors. It also serves as an excellent means of reaching out to the broader business community and attracting new members. In the past two years BritCham has introduced its own successful Toastmasters Club to provide the staff of our member companies with the opportunity to improve their public speaking and English language skills. Another new initiative has been the introduction of a weekly Networkers Group, which caters particularly for small and medium enterprises that are seeking business referrals. All in all BritCham hosts approximately 130 activities per year, making it one of the most active chambers in Indonesia.
BritCham has continued to publish the Guide to British Business in Indonesia, which has proved to be an invaluable aid both to newcomers in the market as well as to businesses already established in Indonesia. As another way of assisting newcomers to Indonesia, BritCham has put in place a range of market facilitation services that are provided on a fee for service basis. The types of services and the appropriate fees can be viewed on our website.
BritCham enjoys a close relationship with the commercial section of the British Embassy in Jakarta, working towards the common goal of promoting business relationships between Britain and Indonesia. As the non-government organisation that represents Britain in Indonesia, BritCham is an associate member of the Indonesian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KADIN) and has forged links with key Government ministries and departments. BritCham is a member of Britain in Asia Pacific the regional grouping of British Chambers and business associations and is also a founding member of both the European Business Chamber of Commerce and the International Business Chamber. Working together with all these strategic partners, BritCham lobbies government on business issues to ensure that the interests of ensuring a continued strong business relationship between the UK and Indonesia are taken into account in the formulation of policy and legislation impacting on trade and investment. The range of sector groups within the Chamber ensures that BritCham’s inputs are targeted and well advised.
BritCham’s vision for the future is to further improve our delivery of professional and efficient services to our members as well as to those UK and Indonesian companies and individuals wishing to develop business between the two countries. We therefore look forward to the support of those in the British and Indonesian business community who have an interest, as we do, in nurturing the growth of the bilateral business relationship, particularly as the Indonesian economy is now emerging from a long economic crisis.
BritCham welcomes new members both from among local business people and those in Britain with an interest in doing business in Indonesia.