BUSINESS Horsham has a new space and new face with the organisation relocating to Wimmera Business Centre and employing a relationship manager.
Business Horsham is the core business group within the region, which acts as a chamber of commerce to protect and promote Wimmera businesses.
Advertising and sales professional Claudia Haenel has worked in the Wimmera for the Wimmera Mail-Times and ACE Radio as well as stints in Adelaide and the UK.
She started her new role in November, taking the reins from Sarah Kelm, in the previous executive administrator position.
"The Wimmera is heavily reliant on a rural population and has a lot of business growth potential," Ms Haenel said.
Ms Haenel was born and raised in Horsham. She said she was looking forward to facilitating access to information, events and programs for businesses.
"I have a lot of marketing and advertising work to do but my role is to be out there talking to anyone interested in coming on board (with Business Horsham)," she said. "I'm in business myself, so I understand."
Ms Haenel previously owned a health and remedial massage business and is currently an event organiser for Brink Festivals.
She encouraged people to submit any concerns in writing to firstname.lastname@example.org so she could more effectively follow-up with the Business Horsham committee.
"It's great to stop me in the street to chat, but I can do more if I have a record of any issues in email because it is easier to present and quantify," she said.
Ms Haenel said she was focused on signing more businesses for the Shop Horsham gift card, which is currently valid in more than 60 businesses in the region.
"We want to encourage people to shop local - especially at that key Christmas retail time," she said.
She said the biggest concern among businesses was Horsham Rural City Council's draft City to River plan, which included suggestions to change parking in the central business district from angle to parallel parking.
"Some of these things are out of our control but we certainly raise it with council," she said.
Business Horsham will host its final meeting of the year on Tuesday night.
Ms Haenel said some potential initiatives for next year included a mentoring program and more partnerships with council to run workshops such as social media training.
"In the new year, there will be a lot more things implemented - so watch this space," she said.
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