This is the second time that I have had to apologise in this publication. The first was when I said I was sorry for loving living in Whangarei.

This time I would like to apologise to those of you who were unable to attend our recently held The Business Mix.

Based on the feedback we have received to date from the 140 local business people who got to spend the day together it was unfortunate we could not have opened it up to more.

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What impressed me most was this was the first time we had run such an event and although we knew what we wanted to present we weren't sure how we could achieve it given limited resources available.

It showed me that when we work collaboratively with public and private sector partners we can achieve much more than we can as individual organisations. Also, it demonstrated the value in building long-term relationships with other members of our community that can be mutually beneficial.

Without naming all the individual sponsors I would like to thank them for the trust they put in us and their individual commitment to partnering in an event that was bringing something to the Northland market which has been lacking for a long time.

Through their contribution we managed to secure a line-up of first class presenters who gave a range of talks focusing on the changing nature of business and the role that leadership plays in managing this change in a way that ensures business success.

While the organisations these presenters came from were often large, the messages they presented were scalable and transferable to any Northland business.

We were really grateful for the support of Whangarei District Council for providing Forum North as the venue for the day. While the venue had sufficient capacity for the numbers on the day it is still a reminder that if we are to host events either by local organisations or by people from outside the district, that the limited capacity of existing venues is a serious limiting factor that needs to be addressed.

I guess the positive is that the speakers on the day showed that with the right vision and the right leadership, change and growth can be managed and embraced. Who knows, in the future, a venue such as the proposed Hihiaua Cultural Centre may be the solution to this issue and offer the opportunity for bigger, better events for all sectors of our community.

■ Tony Collins is the Northland Chamber of Commerce's chief executive.