GARY Jenkins, owner of Chester-based IT business Elite PC Systems Ltd, is calling for local business owners to work together to beat the credit crunch.

Mr Jenkins, a former executive at Littlewoods Group, fears that local companies may perceive themselves to be powerless as the country slips into recession.

The Chester businessman says there is a need for local businesses to work together to support each other through the difficult times.

“This is a real opportunity for people to build relationships and to reciprocate trade,” he said. “It is important that the whole community pulls together, and nowhere is this more important than within the business community.”

Mr Jenkins, who is a member of the Federation of Small Businesses, believes that an improved business forum is needed to unite local enterprise.

He said: “There are networking events at local hotels, where hoteliers benefit, which is fine. However, tackling the downturn is going to require a determined and concerted effort from everyone. It’s community action that we really need, if we are going to save jobs.”

Mr Bob Williams, the Chairman of the Chester Chamber of Commerce, which represents businesses employing 90,000 people across the region, strongly believes that the Chamber is already being pro-active to help local businesses.

He points out that the Chamber has taken considerable steps to put in place a variety of schemes to help the business community.

“We have arranged for small businesses to receive free professional advice from local solicitors, accountants and marketing experts through our business clinics.

He added: “We use our contacts to produce daily business updates. In addition, we believe that our business growth clubs – open to members and non members – disseminate best practice and provide networking opportunities.”