Rebrand for SA’s peak business body as it celebrates 185th anniversary

Business SA has changed its name to avoid “confusion”, as the peak body celebrates 185 years of service to the business community.

Feb 09, 2024, updated Feb 09, 2024
South Australian Business Chamber chief executive Andrew Kay and chair Sascha Detmold Cox. Photo: Supplied.

South Australian Business Chamber chief executive Andrew Kay and chair Sascha Detmold Cox. Photo: Supplied.

From today, the peak body representing South Australia’s business community will be known as the South Australian Business Chamber as part of a move to rebrand the organisation in line with its interstate and international counterparts.

Formerly Business SA, the organisation last night celebrated 185 years of service to the state’s business community, making it one of the oldest chambers of commerce in Australia.

Speaking to InDaily, chief executive Andrew Kay said the Business Chambers’ research highlighted that “many businesses assume we are a government body due to the similarity our name had with state-based departments”.

“We’ve known anecdotally for some time, and recently through some market research, that there is confusion that the name Business SA for many people symbolises a government agency or department,” Kay said.

“The other reason, which I think is possibly more important, is the fact that we’re part of a global chamber network and the name Business SA has really hidden that light under a bushel for some time.”

It’s a return to tradition for the not-for-profit, member-based organisation that was established in 1839 – three years after South Australia was officially settled.

Originally, the organisation was called the Adelaide Chamber of Commerce when formed on 7 January 1839.

In 1869, the South Australian Chamber of Manufacturers was formed as a support group for the manufacturing industry. Twenty years later, the South Australian Employers’ Federation was founded.

The Adelaide Chamber of Commerce merged with the Chamber of Manufacturers in 1972 and became the Chamber of Commerce and Industry SA. In 1993, that group merged with the Employers’ Federation to become the South Australian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Business SA was picked as the group’s name in 2000, and 24 years later the rebrand aims to better represent the body’s purpose in the South Australian business landscape.

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“It’s fascinating that South Australia was only three years old when the traders and the merchants at the time decided that there was benefit or power in getting together and advocating with a united voice, and that makes us one of the oldest chambers in the country,” Kay said.

“We’ve been around continuously since that time, going through the earliest moments of South Australia through World Wars, through the manufacturing boom, supporting businesses through the State Bank demise, right up until the challenges of COVID a few years ago when businesses leant so heavily on the Chamber.

“For all those things and more, the Chamber has been there supporting and serving South Australian business.”

In its 186th year, Kay said there were some “really interesting times ahead” for the organisation.

“South Australia has had some really positive news recently – the CommSec report where we were number one, recent export data suggests we’re outperforming the rest of the country which is fantastic, and the sentiment around South Australia is positive,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean businesses are not going through really challenging and tough times. What we’re seeing is at all levels of government, continuing impost of compliance regulations and changes that affect businesses, and we’re about to have another one drop federally: the Closing the Loopholes Bill.

“We are in a really privileged position of having the trust of the South Australian business community and that’s certainly something that we don’t take for granted. Our goal is to make South Australia the best place to do business, and if we think about the support we’ve given for 185 years I think it sets us up really well for the next chapter.”

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