We’ve made it through 2020 as society and as a business community, both having been stretched and challenged. It has been really difficult times, but we have also seen fantastic ways of working, pivoting and adapting for the market which has benefited society as a whole and enabled businesses to set out a viable future.
In 2021, the vaccination programme will give life to all businesses and ways of life. I will be particularly pleased to see a vital boost to tourism, hospitality, arts and entertainment and our night-time economy which have all been hit badly by the Covid-19 emergency. We do need the continuing support from Government until our economy can regain its strength and energy. The world of 2021 will be a lot better than the world of 2020.
We can take positivity and learning from seeing examples of humanity at its best. We have seen some amazing acts from both individuals and businesses this year who’ve reacted to the challenges we’ve faced in inspirational ways. We can learn from this and use it for our collective benefit throughout 2021 and beyond. We can build our economy through 2021, setting solid foundations for a more prosperous 2022.
Some sectors of our economy have grown with increased performance levels in 2020. In reaction to the pandemic, we have also seen new jobs and new sectors developing. We have seen further evidence of the need for businesses to have a powerful digital platform to survive a roller-coaster economic upheaval caused by a global pandemic. It is reasonable to assume we will experience other global health crises and so building resilience through a strong and cyber-secure digital platform is a message for all of us. Digital does not mean a lack of the human touch. Many people have been scarred by the Covid-19 crisis and so an emotionally-aware customer focus will be to the fore in those businesses that seek to grow and embed themselves in the community around them.
The SWLEP starts 2021 continuing its support to businesses and individuals with training and development opportunities. We are keen to help young people and older adults move into training and jobs in sectors new to them as the market’s demand for jobs changes. We will continue to support our local business community through our Growth Hub and key projects, maintaining and nurturing our relationships to create a more prosperous Swindon and Wiltshire. We are always keen to hear from businesses in our area. We are constantly looking for ways to involve businesses in our activities and being part of our governance arrangements. We aim to have a 50:50 gender split on our Board by 2022. We are not there yet so make contact if you are interested.
Wishing you a happy Christmas and a positive 2021.