Small Business Saturday UK is a national campaign which highlights small business success and encourages us all to ‘shop local’.

The day itself takes place on the first Saturday in December each year, but the campaign aims to have a lasting impact on small businesses.
In 2017 Small Business Saturday is on Saturday, December 2nd.

Small Business Saturday celebrates Britain’s small and micro businesses and encourages consumers to spend more with small firms. Customers across the U.K are encouraged to use their local high streets and specialist retailers, eateries, and services supporting all types of small businesses, online, in offices and in stores.

Many of the small businesses and retailers in our towns and village high streets will be taking part in the day by hosting events and offering discounts.

Chiltern Chamber team at Bucks Skills Show 2017Chiltern Chamber of Commerce and ChinaAcumen joined forces to create an exciting stand on the China Opportunity at the 2017 Bucks Skills Show.

Enjoy our galleries from Adams Park High Wycombe on Thursday 12th, and The Gateway Aylesbury on Saturday 14th October.

Visit our Chiltern Chamber Bucks Skills Show 2017 microsite, with show reports and galleries, and with resources to enable visitors to follow up on opportunities discussed at the shows.

Through our literature, one-on-one discussions and an interactive quiz, we sought to explain the remarkable resurgence of the Chinese economy, and its increasing influence over global and UK business. And how as these trends continue, career and business opportunities will abound for those willing to understand China and to learn Chinese.

How speaking Chinese could enhance career prospects:

Just a sample selection:

  • By working directly in China for an international business, or for a Chinese business operating abroad.
  • Or maybe working in or running a business that trades with China.
  • Many engineering businesses need Chinese speakers to support projects in China.
  • UK buyers are constantly on the road in China, sourcing products.
  • The market for Chinese tourists is the biggest tourism market globally.
  • In the service sector or the professions, Chinese may turn out to be a valuable tool for those working in law, finance, property or accountancy.
  • One theme shared by our experts, but also reiterated by several visitors to our stand, is the readily available opportunity to teach in China, both on a temporary (eg gap year) and permanent basis. And often that teaching experience can be the ‘foot in the door’ leading to other opportunities.

In short, by understanding China, and studying Chinese, students can take their career prospects to a different level.

By visiting our stand, students were able to:

  • LEARN about the massive and growing Chinese economy, and the opportunities it offers to those who engage with it.
  • CONSULT Chinese business experts Simon Stokes and Lucy Qian of ChinaAcumen.
  • MEET Chinese education experts and learn how they can get started with the language.
  • CHAT with recent Chinese students, about their experiences living and studying in China, why they embarked on their Chinese journey, how it has enriched their lives and shaped career choices.
  • HAVE FUN. Is learning Chinese really so difficult? Most popular was our interactive How Much Do You Know About China? quiz. Students also enjoyed interacting with our Chinese speakers, and taking part in some simple exercises, getting started with some Mandarin phrases.

Chris Webster, Programme Director of the Swire Chinese Language Centre, based in Oxford and Radley, gave an inspiring talk in the speaker zone. Among other opportunities, working in China enabled him to appear in front of a massive TV audience, on China’s Got Talent.

8.8% of visitors to the show played our interactive quiz on the Saturday, and 7.1% across the two days. With our other activities and Chris Webster’s talk, we may have reached around 10% of the show’s 1,700 visitors.


You can download the two flyers which we distributed at the show. Simply click the image to download:

Five Great Reasons to Study ChineseFive Great Reasons to Study Chinese
flyer for bucks skills showShow flyer: How understanding China, and Chinese language skills, can take your career prospects to a different level

Our Team

We assembled an outstanding team of Chinese experts and Chinese speakers. All were pleased to share their knowledge and experience.

Simon Stokes and Lucy Qian

Simon Stokes Director of ChinaAcumenLucy Qian Director of ChinaAcumen Simon and Lucy run ChinaAcumen, a business consultancy putting extensive on-the-ground Chinese business experience at the disposal of UK and international businesses looking to do business in and with China.

Chris Webster

Chris Webster at Bucks Skills Show 2017Chris is the Programme Director of the Swire Chinese Language Centre, based in Oxford and Radley. Chris is a Chinese language and culture specialist, experienced in the field of education. His aim is to promote and introduce Chinese language and culture to as many people as possible to inform them of the amazing opportunities that can be created through learning about this fascinating country, its language and people. These were the themes of Chris’s inspiring talk in the Speaker Zone.

Mai Sim Merry

Buckinghamshire-based chinese teacher Mai Sim MerryMai Sim is a teacher of Chinese in several schools in Buckinghamshire, and Secretary of the UK Federation of Chinese Schools (among many roles!).

Louis Carmichael

Louis Carmichael speaker at Bucks Skills Show 2017Louis is currently studying anthropology at Goldsmith’s College; he is an enthusiast for all things Chinese, was a finalist in the British Council National Mandarin Speaking Competition and had recently returned from teaching English in China at kindergarten, primary and secondary levels. See Louis in action: “Behind the scenes at Britain’s Mandarin Speaking Competition”.
See Louis’ presentation to the Bucks Skills Show, with many practical pointers based on his own experience of learning Chinese and working in China (PDF, 2MB).

Holly Holdsworth

holly holdsworth at buck skills show 2017Holly graduated from Edinburgh University in 2015, with an MA in Chinese Studies, and also including a year at Peking University. Holly is now making her career at HSBC.

Chiltern Chamber is very excited to be presenting a stall at this year’s Bucks Skills Show with Chamber member ChinaAcumen.

We have also set up a Chiltern Chamber/China Acumen microsite. It has lots of information to help those interested in following up on learning more about China, and Chinese language learning.

ChinaAcumen is run by husband and wife Simon Stokes and Lucy Qian. It is a business consultancy putting its extensive on-the-ground Chinese business experience at the disposal of UK and international businesses looking to do business in and with China.

We are seeking to inform visitors about the significant career opportunities that can present themselves to those with a working knowledge of China, Chinese business and Chinese languages. As well as business experts Lucy and Simon, visitors can meet a Chinese teacher, as well as young people who have quite recently made the journey of learning Chinese. We shall have a few fun, interactive activities, some based around basic Mandarin expressions.

The show will be from 9.30am to 2pm on Thursday 12th October at Adams Park, High Wycombe, and from 9.30am to 3pm on Saturday 14th October at The Gateway, Aylesbury.

More info and FREE ticket booking

flyer for Chiltern Chamber China Acumen stand at Bucks Skills Show 2017

On a rather un-summery evening, the Chamber’s guests met for the annual Summer Soiree, at The Bury, Chesham.

Whilst a few brave souls enjoyed the grounds at the start of the evening, wisely we retreated indoors for the speeches. We were treated to two very interesting talks.

First, Bonnie May, Global Operations Director of Global Infusion Group, gave a fascinating account of the group, one of Chesham’s ‘hidden’ global businesses. Its expansion in logical steps from catering for gigs and concerts, to a global operation providing logistical support to major brands and businesses, was a masterclass in business development. It was particularly insightful to hear how they had planned for and grasped the opportunity of the 2012 Olympics, and how that had enabled them to go to a new level. At a different scale, Bonnie May Food & Events catered for the evening, with a superb array of treats, beautifully presented. This was a great advert for this business, which organises and caters for events across the Chilterns and Home Counties.

We were then treated to an equally interesting talk by Councillor Isobel Darby, Leader of the Cabinet at Chiltern District Council. This was divided into two parts: an explanation of Isobel’s motivation for and journey in public service; and a ‘heads-up’ on several of the current and coming initiatives being undertaken by the Council. The talk was a reminder of how fortunate we are to be living and working in the Chilterns, and – whether or not we like every decision! – how we are well served by those working to ensure the maintenance of these characteristics and provision of services.

The atmosphere throughout was very convivial, and the Chamber would like to thank both speakers, and all who attended.