More than seventy North Worcestershire business leaders recently gathered to look to the economic future of Bromsgrove in the historic setting of Avoncroft Museum of Buildings.
The event, organised by NWedR for Bromsgrove District Council, was set up to engage local business leaders in the process of future planning for the economic development of Bromsgrove.
Head of NWedR Dean Piper welcomed delegates from a wide range of businesses from across the Bromsgrove area and explained that NWedR is a shared service for the three local authorities of Bromsgrove, Redditch and Wyre Forest focused on driving forward economic development and regeneration across North Worcestershire.
Councillor Karen May, Deputy Council Leader and Portfolio Holder for Economic Development and Regeneration outlined the ‘state of the area’ in terms of the economy, employment and skills, infrastructure, road and rail connections and stated that Bromsgrove is a great place to do business. She also highlighted challenges to the economic growth and prosperity of Bromsgrove and detailed the challenges for the future which need to be addressed so that future generations can continue to enjoy the benefits of living and working here.
Councillor May said,
“The event generated lots of positive feedback about Bromsgrove which is great. It also emphasised that the Council and partners are aware of the present challenges for businesses and those that are on the horizon. There is certainly no complacency and we recognise that change is needed to secure economic growth and a Better Bromsgrove for everyone. We want to make sure that business leaders are engaged in this process of change and remind them that they also have a part to play in both shaping and creating an business location that others want to invest in.”
Robert Spittle, Chair of the Bromsgrove Economic Development Theme Group explained the role of the theme group being that the group is business led and operates as a voice for the Bromsgrove business community and also includes organisations such as Job Centre Plus and Basepoint among its membership.
“The Economic Development Theme group acts as an agitator for change in some ways. We see the challenge of preserving the “green and pleasant land” of Bromsgrove but we do need to balance this with the need for development and growth. It’s positive that we now have adopted economic priorities for Bromsgrove and work will now be focused on delivering them with all partners concerned.”
Fran Nolan, Managing Director of Bromsgrove based marketing company Superdream spoke to delegates about the story of their growing business and the importance of locating it in an area that reflects the culture and positioning of its brand.
“We do benefit from the Bromsgrove location in terms of proximity to road, rail and airport connections. Our clients like to come to see us here and our team enjoys the semi rural aspect of the area, although 50% of them live nearer to Birmingham and further afield. With the digital ways we work, we could be based elsewhere, like many companies, so in its future planning, the council needs to shape the operational environment so that it is very attractive to growing, creative, innovative businesses – not only to start ups and smaller businesses but for medium and large multi national companies too.”
The Opening Doors to Business scheme which connects young people to the world of work was launched in Bromsgrove at the event. Andy Bywater from NWedR highlighted what the scheme is about and showed a short video featuring the schools and businesses that were involved in the Redditch scheme over the last year.
The event included a Q&A session for the speaker panel and included John Dillon Managing Director of local commercial property agents GJS Dillon. The panel was facilitated by David Clarke, Chairman of Clarke Associates based in Wythall. Questions from the floor included issues including developing brownfield sites and availability of ‘work ready’ young people.
Delegates took the opportunity to network and to find out about business support and advice from Heart of Worcestershire College, Greater Birmingham & Solihull LEP Growth Hub, Business Solutions Centre from University of Wolverhampton and NWedR.
See photographs and video clips from the Bromsgrove’s Economic Future event and sign up to our free bi-monthly newsletter at www.nwedr.org.uk. Join the conversation on Twitter @NorthWorcsEDR.
Fran Nolan, Managing Director of Bromsgrove based Superdream who presented her view of what creative businesses are looking for in their choice of business location.