The roles of business chambers in local economic development: the perceptions of business chambers in the Vaal Triangle region
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Local economic development (LED) has been identified as a prominent tool in the facilitation of the development of local regions. The so-called "LED-triangle" of partners has been identified on the local level as business, government and communities. Business chambers represent business and need to play a leading role in the coordination of, in many cases, stagnating local economies. The objective of this study was to analyse the roles of business chambers in the development of local regions. The Vaal Triangle in South Africa was selected as the study region with its three functional business chambers: the Vanderbijlpark Business Chamber (VBC), the Sasolburg Business Chamber (SBC) and the National African Federated Chamber of Commerce (NAFCOC), Sedibeng branch. The management committees of the three business chambers were interviewed by means of semi-structured interviews and questionnaires which included both quantitative and qualitative assessments. Some of the results indicated that the role of a business chamber should be to allow flow of information, promote network opportunities, assist with the creation of an enabling environment and facilitate entrepreneurship training. Business chambers, together with other role players such as government, play a major role in the facilitation of economic development.