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About

Mark Smith

Please tell us briefly about your career to date and what you are most proud of achieving. 

"I have over 20 years experience working in leadership and management roles primarily within the third sector. I worked as Head of Membership and Business Services (maternity cover) for Doncaster Chamber in 2016/2017.  Since then, I have been running my own training, coaching and consultancy business, MAKE YOUR MARK UK helping businesses and charities to be better. I work part time for a young people's charity in a fundraising role and volunteer as a trustee and Non-Executive Director for charities Citizens Advice Sheffield and Rotherham Samaritans. I deliver business startup training in Doncaster under the launchpad program as well as helping charities and social enterprises under the Community Wealth Builder programme.

I was a member of Junior Chamber International for 10 years: a global organisation aimed at developing leaders for a changing world by providing development opportunities to empower young people to create positive change. I served in many senior roles including National President for JCI UK and as International Vice President assigned to Europe (2020). A proud moment was trekking across the sahara desert to raise money for charity SAFE@LAST - a once in a lifetime opportunity and fantastic personal challenge."

 

What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Doncaster businesses today?

"There are lots of challenges facing Doncaster businesses today - from dealing with and recovering from the aftermath and impact of the global pandemic to still feeling the full effects of Brexit, especially in terms of the time and cost to import and export goods to international markets. However, I think one of the most significant challenges is around employment and skills - from difficulties around recruiting workforce to upskilling young people to be work ready as tomorrow's workforce. This is why the work that the Chamber does through Opportunities Doncaster, working with businesses, school, academies and other partners to invest in and develop young people is so important."

 

What is the best thing about Doncaster and what do you think are the borough’s biggest opportunities?

"Doncaster has so many positive assets - what often comes to mind for me is the strong cultural and leisure and tourism offer - from Cast Theatre, to the Yorkshire Wildlife Park for example. Whilst these are well known, we should continue to shout about and be proud of them.

The bid for Doncaster to be considered for City status is a great opportunity to further build on the profile of the area and also gain the recognition that it deserves."

 

What would you like Doncaster Chamber’s priorities to be for the next 12 months?

"Drawing on my experience of working as part of the Senior Management Team of Doncaster Chamber, as a service provider (helping startups and existing businesses) and as a member, I feel I have a good insight into what the focus for the next year should be:

  • To offer services, support, campaigning and representation on behalf of the business community and membership.
  • Continue to focus on offering support and advice to business startups.
  • Strengthen the voice representing micro and smaller businesses and sole traders as well as medium and large enterprises.
  • Build on programmes like the Community Wealth Builder scheme to support the third sector as a strong part of the local economy.
  • Continue to work closely and collaborate with the other Chambers in the region.
  • Further develop the work by Opportunities Doncaster in order to raise the aspirations and skills of young people to be work ready.
  • Champion the bid for Doncaster to achieve City-status."

 

What would you like the Chamber to be famous for in three years’ time?

"I'd like Doncaster Chamber to be famous for helping to support and grow new businesses from ideas stage to start up to becoming global market leaders, helping to put Doncaster on the map! To help inspire, motivate and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders."

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