Supporting the South since 1861
Business South is a voice for business, fostering a strong regional economy and a thriving business sector.
A strong business community contributes to the health and wellbeing of our local communities and ensures a sustainable, prosperous future.
Watch the video below to learn more about the goals and values we live, operate and measure ourselves by, as we work to achieve our vision of creating a thriving business environment that benefits the whole region.
Dunedin Chamber of Commerce
The Dunedin Chamber of Commerce is formed during the Otago gold rush, as Dunedin enjoys an economic boom but is hampered by inadequate infrastructure.
The Otago Employers' Association Former
The Otago Employers’ Association is formed in response to New Zealand’s first major industrial dispute.
Maritime workers go on strike in support of their Australian counterparts who wish to form unions.
The minutes from the Association’s first meeting recognise the workers’ rights and a desire for a peaceful solution.
Dunedin Chamber of Commerce changes its name to Otago Chamber of Commerce.
Southland Employers’ Association amalgamates with its Otago counterpart, forming the Otago Southland Employers’ Association.
Otago Chamber of Commerce amalgamates with the Otago Southland Manufacturing Association and the Export Institute of Otago.
A New Network
Business New Zealand is formed by the merger of the New Zealand Employers’ Federation and the New Zealand Manufacturers’ Federation.
Otago Southland Employers’ Association becomes a founding member of the BusinessNZ network.
Investigations begin into a merger between Otago Chamber of Commerce and Otago Southland Employers’ Association.
Plans to merge the Otago Chamber of Commerce and Otago Southland Employers’ Association are abandoned due to “governance and constitutional issues”.
"Joining is a relatively complex process – even when you start out with good faith and the best of intentions," Chamber President David Shelton tells the Otago Daily Times.
What Members Want
Members of Otago Chamber of Commerce and Otago Southland Employers’ Association vote to merge.
OSEA members are unanimously in favour, while 78% of OCC members support the move.
Both organisations believe the merger will create enhanced offerings and increased benefits for members.
A New Legal Entity
Under the oversight of an interim transition board, a new legal entity is created.
The incorporated society is called Business South, and this becomes the working name of the new organisation.
After an extensive recruitment campaign, Michael (Mike) Collins takes up his role as the inaugural Chief Executive Officer of Business South.
A New Name
The new organisation’s official name is announced as Business South: Otago Chamber and Southern Employers.
Members were surveyed on the name, with more than 75% choosing Business South from three shortlisted name options.
Business South officially comes into being, superseding the Otago Chamber of Commerce and Otago Southland Employers’ Association.