Business Articles

WEBINAR: How Chambers and their Members Succeed in a Digital First Business World

July 15, 2020

About the Webinar

Last week, TIAO organised a webinar about ‘Chambers and their Members Succeeding in a Digital First Business World’ (video below).

It was truly international, with close to 60 participants from 4 different continents: Asia, Africa, America, and Europe.

Joost Visser, CEO and Co-Founder of TIAO, led the webinar.

We had four speakers give different perspectives on the coronavirus crisis and how it has impacted them, their work, business, and society. 

They also explored the importance of digital transformation and how it can benefit individuals and companies.

The Speakers

  • Alison Tate, director of economic and social policy at the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC). Alison gave us the global outlook for business and society across the world during the pandemic and a post-corona world.
  • Wouter van Gulck, General Manager of the Federation of Belgian Chambers of Commerce, then spoke from the chambers of commerce perspective. He explained how chambers can make themselves more pandemic resistant. 
  • Karolina Vainilkaite, CONNECTS Communities Developer at TIAO, gave a brief demonstration of our platform. She also gave a sneak peek at the new platform features coming in September.
  • Leila Bardasuc, VP of International Business at Avari Identity and CONNECTS super user, presented the SME perspective. She explained how she has been doing business online, as well as how CONNECTS has benefitted her.

Alison Tate

Alison Tate, director of economic and social policy at the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC)

ITUC represents trade unions at the national level in 165 countries. They hear what is happening to the job market and different sectors in those countries on a daily basis.

During this webinar, Alison presented a bleak picture of our current global economy. Indeed, the impact of Covid-19 has been enormous. It has been without precedent and no one knows what the outcome will look like.

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the world economy is on a tightrope. We have experienced the most severe economic recession in nearly a century. There is no clear path out of it.

Government responses regarding lockdown have frozen business activities for many industries and businesses. 

Overall, the 2020 economic forecast has seen GDP growth diminish by 6%. This is a huge setback. In Europe, it has decreased by 9,1%. 

Yet if the consequences of Covid-19 are huge, there are also plenty of new opportunities. Digital transformation of industries and businesses is one of them. 

In this volatile world, access to communications and companies one can trust can offer entrepreneurs a degree of certainty about access to suppliers, buyers, and partners. 

Furthermore, access to reliable information as quickly and reliably as possible requires trust in a platform. Alison sees CONNECTS as an essential way to conduct business in the future.

Wouter van Gulck

Wouter van Gulck, General Manager of the Federation of Belgian Chambers of Commerce

During the webinar, Wouter gave us the Chambers of Commerce perspective, as well as the lessons learned from the pandemic.

For Chambers of Commerce, social distancing has had a huge impact on their whole functioning. Training, workshops, business clubs, learning days, networking events, statutory meetings, international missions, trade delegations. None of these could take place face-to-face anymore.

All these events involved personal interactions. Chambers of Commerce needed to reinvent themselves and think creatively.

Chambers brought most of these happenings online. None of the digital technology they used was new. Very few Chambers had gone through a digital transformation. 

Humans are creatures of habit. It took a global crisis to shake things up.

Wouter does not believe in a 100% online future for Chambers. He sees a hybrid future, combining the personal and the digital.

Leila Bardasuc

Leila Bardasuc, independent Business Developer and CONNECTS super user

Leila specialises in business development. She has been using CONNECTS for more than two years. During this webinar, she offered the SME perspective.

Through her work, she helps companies with their IT projects and digital transformation. She supports them in gaining a competitive advantage through the use of technology.

During this pandemic, Leila emphasised the need to build bridges and do business differently. For her, technology is vital.

CONNECTS is her go-to tool when looking for new prospects, connections, experts and chambers. She is working from Spain with businesses across the world. 

The platform has helped her to network whilst working from home. It has given her the possibility to reach out to companies that are verified by the Chambers of Commerce.

As she explained it, CONNECTS, is a trusted environment. There is no need to do research about a company or whether it exists. All the information is on the platform.

Leila emphasised the importance of using new communication tools due to corona. CONNECTS helped her to keep her activities going during the lockdown.


Business is all about confidence in the future. At CONNECTS we believe we can only develop strong business relationships through trusted networks. 

We provide entrepreneurs with the best of both worlds, the digital and the personal user experience. The platform is a unique, simple, and effective tool for online B2B matchmaking.

Interested in joining our digital Business Matchmaking Platform?

Sign up for a 90-day FREE trial here (offer valid until 30 September 2020)!

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