Austrian Business Chamber: 2019 AGM – Chairman’s Report


We live no doubt in very difficult and uncertain times, be it here in South Africa or be it in the beautiful home country of many of us, Austria, or be it in the entire world.
Here, we are eagerly awaiting the inauguration of our new president and the announcement of the new cabinet, which has a tremendous task ahead to get this country and our economy back on track again.

Back home in Austria, the government coalition has collapsed and new elections have been called. In Europe, we still don’t know whether there will or will not be a Brexit. And in the world, America and China continue their trade wars, fuelled by the rather erratic leadership of President Trump.

Against this difficult economic framework, business people who form the backbone of our organization, seek support, stability and networking opportunities to assist in growing their businesses. And the Austrian Business Chamber offers a wide range of compelling services to our members in this regard.

I am pleased that there is a consistent flow of new members who find a home and support in the Austrian Business Chamber and make up for the natural attrition of members who retire from the business world. Also in the last financial year, our membership base remained again constant around the 80 members mark. But I am particularly delighted that more and more companies are seeking the benefits of a premium membership that comes with significant exposure and advertising opportunities.

Established Premium Members

So first of all, I would like to thank our longstanding as well as our new premium members for their support and contributions.
Our long established premium members comprise of:

  • FAW Motor Vehicle Manufacturers
  • Geecom
  • Plasser SA
  • Technimac
  • World Net Logistics

New Members

A particular thank you goes to Gerhart Mischinger from Technimac and Richard Leiter from FAW Motor Vehicle Manufacturers for sponsoring today’s AGM and Networking event, and in particular to Richard who facilitated the attendance of the Chinese Ambassador to South Africa as our guest speaker later on tonight.
A big welcome goes to our new premium members who are:

  • Austrian Airlines (yes they are flying again to South Africa)
  • HB True
  • HCI Skills
  • Roedl and Partner
  • SKIDATA

Thank you very much for support.

Past Events

Once again, we were able to offer our members a very interesting line up of events in the last financial year, with our primary focus on our monthly Sundowner in combination with an informative talk. Talks during our last financial year included:

  • Net-working with the Austrian delegates to the Conexpo Exhibition in March
  • Entrepreneur and business incubator Pavlo Phitidis – on how to build resilience into business
  • Our ambassador Dr Johann Brieger was guest speaker at last years AGM bringing us the latest news on the developments in Europe
  • In June we held once again our very popular and successful Annual Golf Day, which reminds me, there are still a few last minute sponsorhip opportunities available for this years Golf Day
  • We welcomed deputy trade commissioner Andreas Pfleger with Gluehwein at the Park Hyatt
  • We extend a big thank you to Franziska Brandl from KTM, who hosted a fabulous factory tour at their premises, including the opportunity to test drive the latest KTM models, and a we were able to listen to a wonderful talk about perseverance by formerparaplegic Joey Evans and his experience at the worlds toughest Rallye, the Dakar Rallye
  • We brought you networking opportunities with other chambers of EU countries as part of our strong alliance with the EU Business Chamber
  • And we brought you regular economic updates such as in November by the Chief Economist of First National Bank
  • We got our members up-to-date on the latest social media marketing opportunities with Kevin Cartmell’s Digital Marketing workshop
  • In February, our resident economist Dawie Roodt, gave us his value-able insights into the 2020 South African budget
  • And we recently looked a little into the future with Frans Cronje from the institute of race relations outlining his 4 possible scenarios for the next few decades in South Africa

All in all, an expressive line up of events and I would like to thank Monika Kopp, our Managing Director and all of our directors for the hard work they have been doing during the year, in putting together such interesting events and in keeping our organization going. Not an easy task, considering we all have other professional commitments which in difficult economic times put a lot of strain o us.

I am furthermore very pleased to report, that under Deon’s stewardship, our finances remain very healthy. We had a great year with revenues of just under 300.000R, showing over 15% growth, and we ended the year with a profit of over 40.000R. Our cash balances have grown to just over 350.000R putting the Austrian Business Chamber on a solid foundation.

Looking into the future, myself and my fellow directors are committed to continue to bringing you interesting events, talks and networking opportunities!
We will enhance our presence on our social media platforms, facebook, linked-in and the web, combined with a regular newsletter.

And we are further developing our relationships with other Chambers and the EU Chamber and hope to bring even more exciting networking opportunities with joint events. Cornelius Grzimek from Boehler, has kindly agreed to represent us on the Board of the EU Chamber.

Shortly, on 7 June, we will once again be hosting our highly successful Annual Golf Day, which is our main charity event for the year. There are still a few sponsorship opportunities available, please contact Monika in this regard.

ABC Elections

All our Board members will be available for re-election and are seeking your mandate to continue our work for you, the members of the Austrian Business Chamber.
I would like to conclude by thanking my fellow directors Monika, Gerhart, Richard, Deon, Sheri-Leigh Marco and Maria, for all their contributions and commitment to Austrian Business Chamber, I am proud to have you as members of my team!

I would also like to thank Johannes Brunner and his team from the Austria Trade Commission for not only providing us with a home, but also for all your support and contributions during the year! Without your assistance, the ABC would not be able to operate as successfully as we do. Thank you very much!

And most importantly, I would like to thank all of you, our valued members, for your loyal support and trust in the ABC as the networking organization of your choice

Thank you

Christian Neuberger
Chairman

Pictures from our AGM can be found on our Facebook Page