Analysis of the existing policy and operational parameters of the Chania Chamber of Commerce (CCC), influencing the effectiveness and efficiency of support to regional SMEs and the development of a Strategic Plan that will improve both its own procedures
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This work examines the role of the Chambers of Commerce in the economy from the institutional, legal, operational, relational and effectiveness standpoints. The case study is the Chania Chamber of Commerce for which an extensive and elaborate analysis is made to determine the reasons and parameters affecting its effectiveness and efficiency of service to its members and the regional economy. The Chambers of Commerce enjoy a special and unique position in every regional economy and they are the main business assistance and SME support intermediary. This work found that although they are very old institutions with impressive power endowment, they seem to have largely varied effectiveness, especially in their development intervention in the regional economy. The theoretical aspect of this research identified that considerable attention has been given to the regional development characteristics and innovation support conditions without adequate attention given to the development intermediaries. The empirical aspect identified considerable performance variability and serious dependency on exogenous factors such as the prevailing institutional framework and endogenous factors such as the managerial skills and time devotion capacities as well as demonstration of vision and leadership abilities. Chania Chamber of Commerce as well as other Chambers of Commerce have much of the necessary power and institutionally secured role that would enable them to play an important role in the economy. The level of the services to members and their role in the local economy does not meet the expectations prescribed by their institutional power endowment. Their effectiveness to operate at a different and higher level, offering more services to their members and intervening in their region’s development, depends primarily on the managerial and political abilities and strategic vision of their administration and the degree by which their internal capacities are developed and directed to a more demanding operation. A strategic goal realignment and other recommendations would be catalytic in overcoming the inherited bureaucratic culture and any existing financial challenges. Master Thesis in Business Administration Open University of Cyprus iii Acknowledgements The author wishes to acknowledge the instigation of Dr. P. Zoumpoulakis for my program enrollment in this advanced stage of my career, Mr. I. Korompilis, Mrs. M. Pantzardzidou, Mrs. S. Avloniti, Mr. A. Jonkari, Mrs. T. Uditayo and Mr. V. Fortsas who at different capacities and at varying degrees helped with the research. Many thanks and warm regards to the Chania Chamber of Commerce, its administration and especially its President I. Margaronis for allowing the author to make the Chamber the case study for this Thesis. I want also to thank my Canadian born wife, Katerina Chrisovergis, for her help in editing this work as well as her understanding and support during the three-year process.