The Origin of Chambers
The concept of various businesses joining together in a mutual effort to increase commerce had its beginnings in Europe hundreds of years ago. Primarily as a defensive tactic, traders banded together for protection against common enemies and to establish policies to govern trade. This was eventually extended as a means to exert influence on governments and legislation.
The first organization of businesses was evidently in Marseilles, France, where the first use of the term, “Chamber of Commerce” has been documented. This fledgling group was established by the city council in 1599 – over four centuries ago.
The world’s oldest English-speaking chamber of commerce is that of New York City, which was established in 1768 and chartered by King George III in 1770. All of this goes to show that Chambers of Commerce are not a new development and play a significant role in the business arena.
Chamber Characteristics
The Chamber of Commerce is an interconnected group of businesses and professionals working together to increase local commerce and serve their communities more effectively than can be done individually.
Chambers have evolved from simply the protection and promotion of commerce to many of the things we have presented on this website. The primary function of protecting commerce remains the same, but it is interesting to follow the changes and adaptations of the Chamber functions through the years as chambers have adjusted to the changing needs of society. Today the role of Chambers of Commerce has expanded to address socioeconomic concerns and social needs, going far beyond its original intent several centuries ago.
Chambers work on the local level to bring the business community together to develop strong local networks, which can result in a business-to-business exchange. In the case of Grenada the  Chamber works with government and other stakeholders to develop pro-business initiatives. This may include serving as a third party voice on important business legislation that impacts the business community. The Chamber represents the entire business community and works to enhance and advocate for a better business environment.
The prosperity of individual businesses depends on the development of the community. The success of individual businesses serves to increase the prosperity of the community and the resulting prosperity bounces back to the benefit of the local business owner.
The primary purpose of the Chamber is to promote trade and investment, an open market for goods and services and encourage the free flow of capital.
A chamber of commerce is not a governmental body or institution, and has no direct role in the writing and passage of laws and regulations that affect businesses. It may however, act as a lobby in an attempt to get laws passed that are favorable to businesses.