Christmas Wishes from Swindon’s Initiative

By Anita Jaynes on 24 December, 2013

Business leadership organisation The Initiative, based in Swindon and part of Business West wishes local businesses a happy Christmas and a prosperous 2014.

Ian Larrard, Director of The Initiative says, “The past 12 months have been inspiring from a sports point of view with a summer of success including Wimbledon, Tour de France and the successful trip down under by the British and Irish Lions.”

“And there is no doubt that this winning formula has transferred across to business too.  After years of recession, confidence is flowing back into the economy and forecasts are generally bullish about the future.  We at Business West are in no doubt that business can make Swindon & Wiltshire dynamic again in 2014 and beyond. However, the government needs to continue to listen to business and deliver on the four issues our members are constantly asking for which will transform this region from good to great.”

The four areas of improvement highlighted by Ian Larrard include:

1) A green light on the delivery of large scale-scale infrastructure projects.

Where there is investment in infrastructure, prosperity follows. We need government to progress more schemes that would help both existing businesses and assist in the attraction of inward investment. The A420, Junction 16 of the M4 and appraisal work being undertaken around Thamesdown Drive are a few examples of much needed infrastructure projects that would bring huge economic benefits to the area.

2) A skills system that better equips young people for the world of work.

According to our last Quarterly Economic Survey of over 600 businesses, the majority of those recruiting found problems finding suitably staff. The recently established Employment and Skills Boards are making great strides in assisting this vital area and we are sure will deliver successes in 2014.

3) Access to finance for growing companies.

This remains a key barrier to growth, affecting Swindon and Wiltshire businesses.  We need to get finance flowing to all businesses, but especially the high growth companies – the wealth creators of tomorrow, who are still struggling at times to access appropriate finance.

4) More support for firms looking to trade overseas 

We cannot rely on Government spending to generate growth; trade and investment overseas must remain top of the agenda as research shows that businesses generate on average an increased growth of 30% after exporting for just two years.

“Urgency, scale, and delivery are the three things that the government must think about as we enter 2014. Swindon & Wiltshire businesses undoubtedly have the talent and innovation to deliver but they want to see bold measures to further drive growth and enable them to go head-to-head with competitors across the world.” concludes Ian.

The Initiative looks forward to working with local businesses in 2014 and going for growth. To find out more and for contact details visit: www.businesswest.co.uk/initiative/swindon-initiative