Quarter 2, 2021
BUSINESS GROUPS E-MAGAZINE
To ensure that Gloucestershire is
a vibrant, year-round destination
for tourists of all ages and from all locations.
To ensure a joined-up thinking approach to every area of the county, to share best practice to generate
a holistic approach to building the visitor economy.
To work with tourism bodies to
ensure opportunities for showcasing what Gloucestershire has to offer,
is promoted effectively both at home and abroad.
Visit web page
This group provides a platform for representatives from the county’s business membership groups to engage with each other and with Board representatives.
This group provides a conduit between the LEP Board and membership groups to identify mutual needs and solutions to enhance economic growth.
GFIRST LEP | BUSINESS GROUPS E-MAGAZINE
Retail and High Street
To have a joined-up approach to the current retail offering within the county.
To identify current challenges facing high street businesses and work together to encourage diversification and support.
To offer support in identifying and facilitating the planning of employment land within the county particularly along the M5 ‘growth zone’.
To work collaboratively to support infrastructure developments surrounding planned growth areas, taking into consideration any environmental and social impact.
BUSINESS GROUP MANAGER
Banking and Finance
Work with the full spectrum of banks and financial organisations within the county to offer holistic support and advice to businesses. Offering financial guidance to Growth Hub clients through ‘clinics’ offering impartial financial advice and signposting.
To assist in the development and implementation of the county’s Local Industrial Strategy. Work closely with GFirst LEP Investment panel to offer investment recommendations to the Board.
Agri Food and
Supporting sustainable rural businesses with their growth potential; identifying areas of opportunity and support from associated organisations.
To assist in the development and implementation of the county’s Local Industrial Strategy Agri-tech strand.
Work with partners to deliver a food strategy for the county: using food as the vehicle for driving positive social, economic and environmental change.
To support the key Government objective of making the UK one of the most secure places in the world to do business.
To develop the county, in particular Cheltenham as the ‘cyber cradle’ for innovative Cyber-tech start-ups and to offer the opportunity for the growth and development within the county, capitalising on the world-class Cyber-tech institutions based here. The Cyber Tech group is chaired by David Woodfine,
who is the co-founder of Cyber Security Associates Limited.
Ensure the application of Gloucestershire’s Sustainable Energy Strategy into new projects. To work collaboratively to strive for the ambition for Gloucestershire to become carbon neutral by 2050.
To encourage the adoption of measures
to improve the efficiency of energy usage by businesses.
Identify and address skills shortages within the sector, engaging with academia to address these gaps and incorporate the manufacturing initiatives into the STEM learning environment.
To ensure the right talents and capabilities are developed and retained within the county, avoiding skills seepage.
To assist in the development and implementation of the county’s Local Industrial Strategy.
As a collective representation of the professional services in the county, to act collaboratively to review and feedback on GFirst LEP pipeline project proposals for consideration of future funding opportunities.
Temperature checks and government guidelines are a way of working life now.
There is a high calibre of candidates for vacant positions. Their salary demands are higher than pre-COVID and it's tricky finding the right person with the right skills for the right price.
Collaboration with Gloucestershire County Council who are currently contracting for over 18,000 school meals. Wording on contract means they could be open to a Dynamic Procurement System. The intention is to engage with other schools who have contracted out to do their own catering. Farmers are keen to get involved as suppliers.
Over 55 attendees tuned into the group's Rural Planning & Development event on Tuesday 18th May.
The event used examples from good and not so good planning applications, it showed the impact of delays on the wider rural economy and how cohesive, well communicated planning procedures can lead to fewer delays, and a more positive, inclusive rural landscape.
"This event really highlighted problems out there, and showed the pitfalls of the rural Planning System. It was great to get the perspective from a behavioural change viewpoint. A well put together online event with a good mix of speakers and Q&A interaction. A very useful morning
and we hope to build on the discussions."
— Robert Killen, CLA
Orders are continuing. Recruitment and apprenticeships are working well, although there are few companies taking on apprentices currently.
FUTURE THINKING: Face-to-face brainstorming work session to see how we can effectively engage with local authorities and promote funding opportunities and applications.
The sub group aims to secure the local farm-to-fork supply chain into anchor institutions to make it more accessible for producers to get their produce into local supply chains, as well making healthy, fresh, local food more accessible to everyone.
Gloucestershire Food Strategy update
Cirencester Fabrications has been "Turning Inspiration into Metal"
Almost four decades of experience and dedication in designing, fabricating and welding the highest quality products from aluminium,
mild steel and stainless steel.
"We've got a great bunch of guys who've been here a long time, they don't want to go anywhere and I'm delighted with that. What we want to do is take things to the next level and expand... And we want to work with local businesses, be they architects, builders, garden designers or whatever, we want to build stuff for them... I'm also a STEM ambassador and want to support local schools where we can, running events or competitions, generally helping promote engineering where we can."
Majority of staff are back on site with social distancing in place, and start and finish times being staggered. Regular testing and limited travel with addition risk assessments in place enables us to carry on as best as possible.
NEW MEMBER PROFILE
Over 90% of producers contacted are interested in selling more locally with the most common barriers being logistics, processing capacity and skills.
Up to 80% of AEM companies have seen an uplift in business.
With such a wide range of local food producers in the county, it's important that we know who is producing what.
RURAL PLANNING & DEVELOPMENT EVENT
EU Exit export delays, shipping delays and a reduced quality raw material has meant customers are looking more towards UK- based manufacturers to fulfil their demands. This can reduce risks with supply chain issues and produce a better quality product for a similar price.
NICRE is a hub of research excellence, outreach and impact.
It brings together the strengths of its founding Higher Education partners; Centre for Rural Economy (CRE) and Newcastle University Business School, Countryside and Community Research Institute (CCRI), Royal Agriculture University and Enterprise Research Centre (ERC).
Their Forum keeps policymakers and interested parties informed of
rural enterprise work and draws together expertise to address rural opportunities and challenges. They also offer funding opportunities
for small research projects, local innovation and enterprise projects
and knowledge exchange activities.
National Innovation for Rural Enterprise
View clinic dates
Aaron is an active business mentor for SMEs and has over 15 years experience of financial services experience having fulfilled a number of leadership roles within Lloyds Banking Group.
Aaron is currently the Area Director for Gloucestershire leading an experienced team of Relationship Directors and Managers in the South West Region for Lloyds Bank SME and Mid Corporate Division.
The team and Aaron operate across a number of sites in the county where they are passionate about supporting and partnering with businesses to help them achieve their aspirations and goals.
BRITISH BUSINESS BANK VIEW
Manufacturing sector specialist in Gloucestershire for NatWest
Alexander is supporting SMEs in their growth ambitions and future plans by providing business solutions and connectivity across his professional network. He looks after a portfolio of primary banked SME clients with
a turnover range from £2m to £50m or > £500k debt facilities.
Alexander is also involved in the NatWest Future Fit programme, NatWest's dedicated commitment to the UK manufacturing sector.
The Future Fit programme involves research and engagement with NatWest's core target of medium-sized manufacturers, which helps NatWest create the right support for them.
Receive free, impartial advice from financial experts and business guides
Irrespective of whether you are a new start-up business or an established large PLC, our panel of leading industry experts are ready to hear from you, about what is holding your business back from hitting its growth goals.
Interested? Complete an application form:
SKILLS IN BANKING: Redundancy and furlough have had a detrimental effect on practical learning and apprenticeships and there is
a concern that this will lead to fewer qualified accounting and finance students coming into the industry.
Large financial investment deals, especially in artificial intelligence and automation systems, are on the up as we move out of the uncertain future that the Pandemic brought.
NatWest Corporate & Commercial Banking
Lending has also increased particularly for sustainable solutions within farm diversification.
Read the report
Supply-side delays with materials have lead to raw material shortages and price rises.
FREE BANKING AND FINANCE CLINICS
Pay As You Grow (PAYG) will enable businesses who have started repaying their
Bounce Back Loans to:
Request an extension of their loan term to 10 years from six years, at the same fixed
interest rate of 2.5%.
Reduce their monthly repayments for six months by paying interest only.
This option is available up to three times during the term of their Bounce Back Loan.
Take a repayment holiday for up to six months. This option is available once during
the term of their Bounce Back Loan.
Small Business Finance Market Report 2021
This year, the report focuses on the impact of COVID-19 on small business finance markets
and the implications for 2021, and the use of finance by smaller businesses and market developments in finance products.
Lloyds Bank SME and
Mid Corporate Division
Banking and Finance
Apply for free support
SKILLS IN NET-ZERO: The Honourable Company of Gloucestershire have awarded over £250,000 to various causes over the years and are considering using a small bursary to support apprentices working towards Net Zero-themed skills. This would lend itself well to the work of SGS college Berkeley who are teaching students about green energy skills
and are working with sustainable companies on site there too.
Each group focuses on a key part of Gloucestershire’s economy, providing a platform for local company leaders to help us shape the future of the county.
Our groups are always looking for innovative, dynamic and enthusiastic people who can help us make
a positive difference to Gloucestershire’s economy.
The Countryside Landowners Association (CLA) have noticed a double-hit recently following COVID restrictions: landowners who diversified into the weddings, events and B&B industries have not been able to reap the benefits that these additional activities would usually bring. Bookings for large events are only starting to increase from 2022 onwards. The news on grant payments for farmers is anticipated soon, which are likely to offer incentives for older farmers to retire and to help support younger farmers to get started within the industry.
Business leadership to tackle climate change
Through the Goal 13 Impact Platform, the CBI are capturing cross-sector insights into business climate transition. The objective of the initiative is to build an open repository of corporate climate actions, facilitate learning and collaboration in the run up to COP26 and beyond.
BUSINESS LEADERSHIP REPORT
Did you know that GFirst LEP is guided by sector-based business groups?
The CBI South West says that a joined-up skills approach is needed and the Apprenticeship Levy needs to be made easier to use. Post-16 education, the life-long learning initiative, would really help with re-skilling teams of companies that are struggling post-COVID. As companies are feeling the pressure to recruit people with the right skills, they are having to pay higher salaries to attract these skills as they are in short supply. Apprenticeships take up is down 40%. Upskilling and reskilling is needed to fill some digital tech gaps. As we think about returning to the workplace, there is an increasing reluctance amongst those over 35 years old to return to the workplace.
The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) have reported that up to 50% of SMEs expect revenue to increase over the next quarter, with several looking to expand. They are holding back on marketing campaigns until the redundancy situation becomes clearer over the next few months as furlough ends.
Business Membership Groups
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Aerospace industry are looking to reduce costs as the industry struggles within the current climate. Airbus are building 45 A20s per month, which is well down on what it should be. There is a 20% increase being considered but suppliers who normally feed into the production are still going to struggle. The industry will have to diversify within their market to keep afloat.
SMEs are wanting to change, and those younger, more vibrant businesses who are willing to adapt and take things forward, will do better.
Nicole will bring her wealth of media knowledge to the group.
Nicole has 25 years+ experience working across the Gloucestershire Echo, The Citizen, Cotswold Life and now SoGlos.
SoGlos is an online magazine for Gloucestershire covering Cheltenham, the Cotswolds, the Forest of Dean, Gloucester, Stroud and Tewkesbury – with an editorial remit focused on arts, entertainment and leisure. SoGlos will be hosting the Gloucestershire Business Awards 2021 in September. "As a media business created by Gloucestershire people to champion the county, this is a hugely important event for SoGlos, and they are proud to have GFirst LEP and The Growth Hub as headline co-sponsors."
Podcast launch pad
Made4U Podcasts boasts a team of highly skilled broadcast professionals led by founder and former BBC Radio journalist Serena Gay.
Serena brings a wide mix of entrepreneurial and practical skills to the company which she founded in late 2018 with the aim of producing lively and intelligent podcasts with well-researched and engaging content.
"Last year I ran a short podcast series on business revival in Gloucestershire and I am genuinely interested in the county's
progress towards recovery."
Building on a strong track record of innovation across established
and emerging sectors
Building on the ideas strand of our Local Industrial Strategy, we are building on a strong track record of innovation across established and emerging sectors.
The BPS group are currently working with the Growth Hub on the delivery of two of the interventions outlined in the county’s recovery strategy.
Digital Business Transformation
Digital Business Transformations has become a key to businesses operating effectively both remotely and with physical distancing restrictions.
Establishing a Digitalisation Programme will enable the county’s economy and businesses
to have a robust digital technology ecosystem, to operate online where appropriate and to effectively deliver physically distanced face-to-face services. This will aid businesses to discover the routes to quick and cost-effective implementation of new business processes
and bring significant business survival, GVA (gross value added) and employment benefits.
Innovation Mentoring Programme
Alongside the Digitalisation Programme, this programme will provide mentoring to businesses that are seeking to transform their business services and product offering to meet new and developing market needs.
The programme will ensure businesses have access to the people and resources they need
to identify new markets, develop services and products and to bid for innovation funding.
The mentoring programme will consist of one-to-one and peer mentoring, as well as a range of innovation focussed events that will connect business knowledge and research to explore opportunities for cross-sector innovation.
THE GROWTH HUB: The Forest of Dean Growth Hub based within Vantage Point is opening imminently. Gloucester and Tewkesbury Growth Hub will be opening in July for pre-booked appointments and will be fully in September. Cirencester Growth Hub have been offering support to their members with careful guidance in place and will open fully on 19th July (subject to government announcements). Stroud Growth Hub is looking to re-open fully by September. Cheltenham Growth Hub, as all Growth Hubs, are offering virtual support.
Discussions with the Growth hub teams will look at what Gloucestershire businesses need and are potentially lacking in terms of support, and use this as a basis for this group to offer targeted support.
Construction Education Centre
Construction and Infrastructure
In total GFirst LEP has brought in £112.9million to the county via Growth Deal Funding and the Getting Building Fund (GBF), as well as €41 million in European funding through our EU Structural and Investment Funds Strategy.
Thanks to these deals, we’re funding cutting-edge projects, fuelling innovation and facilitating change, laying solid foundations for Gloucestershire’s next steps. to economic growth.
Minster Innovation Exchange
Cyber Incubation Units
Business and Community Projects
View all projects
The Joint Core Strategy
The Joint Core Strategy is a partnership between Gloucester City Council, Cheltenham Borough Council and Tewkesbury Borough Council, which sets out a strategic planning framework for the three areas.
The JCS was adopted by all three councils in December 2017 and is now undergoing a review.
The JCS Review will look again at:
Future growth needs.
The best strategy for delivering growth.
The allocation of strategic sites to help meet needs.
Evaluate policies in the adopted JCS to ensure effectiveness and consistency with the National Planning Policy Framework.
The JCS is a plan-led system that provides certainty for growth and fosters confidence within the business community. The Construction and Infrastructure members are looking at the timetable of the emerging JCS and discussed challenges facing the development of the review, taking into consideration several comments:
The Pandemic and the Climate Change Agenda will necessitate changes in the way we do development in the future. The County and the associated authorities have signed up to
reducing their carbon output by 2050 with a declaration in May 2019 to be net zero by 2030,
and deliver a carbon neutral County by 2050, working with partners to deliver an 80% reduction by 2030. Climate Change can be secured by positive economic growth.
The updates to the revised plan need to address the climate change agenda as well as changes
in the way we now live and work. The Climate change agenda will impact on housing and infrastructure, and there is a need for companies to get up to speed with the latest 'green-
thinking' around housing design. This needs to be taken into consideration within the JCS review.
How will the JCS address the potential changes to the planning system set out by the Governments white paper on“Planning for the Future”, August 2020 as well as subsequent proposed changes to the National Planning Policy Framework?
The county's Transport Strategy which underwent a review in March 2021 sets out the transport strategy for Gloucestershire for 2020-2041, reviewed to reflect national policy updates and local priorities in the face of change. How can the JCS better align itself with this?
The group will continue these lines of communication with the JCS team to follow up on issues and challenges raised.
Find out more
The Gloucestershire Applied Digital Skills Centre
The Golden Valley Development is working at a Western Gateway level with an International aspect. Within industry there is an increasing dependency on digital infrastructure and technology advancement, The Golden Valley project will give a broad, digital brand appeal encompassing cyber within this.
The project is keen to work with innovation partners and access talent across the county.
Successful procurement bid will be announced in June 2021.
Golden Valley Development
2/3 of businesses fell victim to phishing attacks in 2020.
35% more businesses are now carrying out cyber security risk assessments.
There is a move towards business cyber attacks and away from individuals with the top ten email subjects relating to 'policy change'.
CYBER TECH TIPS
Ross will represent the South West Resilience Centre, working with the National Police Chiefs Council and the Home Office.
The SWRC is part of a network of cyber and business resilience centres
across the UK designed to protect SMEs and the third sector from cyber crime.
"It's a delight to have been invited to join this group and I look forward to learning and sharing thoughts and ideas with other members."
SWRC offer a free core membership to businesses and individuals, updating them on new scams and up to date protection as well as
free webinars on key topics — all in plain English.
View the timeline
SKILLS IN CYBER-TECH: To face the digital challenges ahead in our changing workplace and global landscape, we need a highly skilled workforce who will secure the software and technology to prevent cyber-attacks to keep us all safe. C11, part of the University of Gloucestershire, is designed to be part
of the solution. Working with local, national and international partners,
they help bring brilliant minds and businesses together to develop talent, drive research and advance knowledge in the ever-changing area of cyber and digital innovation.
Remote working brings new cyber security challenges. Attacks on the Internet of Things will rise. There are more sophisticated new phishing scams which are increasingly professional-looking. Stronger emphasis is being based on cloud security — weakened by configuration, sensitive data, and access policies.
Use a strong and separate password for your email.
Create strong passwords using three random words.
Save your passwords in your browser.
Turn on two-factor authentication.
Update your devices.
Back up data.
SKILLS FOCUS: SGS Berkeley proposes to be the centre for new
energy and retrofitting skills, to try to reduce the gap between
skills need and current qualifications. Digital skills are also
needed to operate high tech specialist equipment within energy industries of which there is also a shortage.
Energy Business group co-chair Simon Pickering has written an article about the best returns on investment which can be made by improving the energy performance of your house.
The South West procurement process for retrofit programme will start this summer.
The South West Energy Hub have been awarded more funding to help with public sector decarbonisation support.
Applications are encouraged from Gloucestershire, especially for the Community Renewal Fund.
Read the article
The Energy and Green Skills market analysis shall:
Identify and quantify the existing energy and green skills market.
Summarise existing skills provision, short falls and factors that may restrict job creation.
Provide insight into regional growth scenarios for the identified markets and green jobs/skills market, including barriers, risks and opportunities.
Discuss and propose the workforce requirements necessary to achieve the regions commitment of becoming carbon neutral by 2030.
Set out the levers for market interventions and stimulus available to the region,
it is Local Authority Authorities and partners at community, regional and policy level.
Sustain You is a unique consultancy specialising in CSR, Sustainability and Information Security.
“Our commitment to responsible business drives our focus on challenging existing business models and delivering long term measurable change within sustainability, information security and change management.”
“I see the grand challenge in this area to be how we get the general population on board with the benefits of climate change and sustainability.”
Gloucestershire Sustainable Energy Strategy
This strategy draws on the report of a project commissioned from the Centre for Sustainable Energy by GFirst LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership), funded by the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). It is based on an extensive evidence review and stakeholder engagement undertaken between May 2018 and October 2018, including a workshop involving some 50 stakeholders from all sectors in the county and the regular involvement of a strategy development steering group drawn from the GFirst LEP’s Energy Business Group.
The report contains significant additional analysis and detail which underpins the recommendations and conclusions presented in this strategy. It can be accessed by contacting firstname.lastname@example.org
Stroud was listed as the
BEST PLACE TO LIVE by the Times.
Cheltenham BID sets out proposed £2.8m investment plans for the town
Retail and High Street
Bars and cafes are heavily dependent on the weather which has a knock-on effect
on flow through to shops
— this shows how critical mixed-use retail is.
Five Valleys retail development is now
ACHIEVING 100% OCCUPANCY RATES
with its eclectic mix of local traders, national and independent retailers at their Borough Market style indoor market.
Bring back innovation and diversity onto the high street: a richer mix of retail and leisure on high streets would offer multi level footfall and appeal
to several demographics. Encourage start-ups to return to the high street (and make it easier for
them to do so) and review the original retail model.
BIDs are pushing businesses to upskill to digital as there are still independents who are not online. We can encourage them to take the plunge by showing them what other retailers have learned and that there is nothing to fear.
Footfall is up and people are ready to spend but will they be ready to dine in restaurants after 12 months of drive-thrus and takeaways?
Cheltenham Business Improvement District has launched its new second-term Business Plan,
setting out its priorities in support of more than 800 businesses and £2.8million worth of
investment in Cheltenham town centre ahead of its renewal ballot in June.
"What the BID has achieved over the past five years is in no small part attributable to the support we get from BID businesses and their enthusiasm to get involved with our projects. It’s reassuring when we get asked to deal with issues ranging from anti-social behaviour to accessing grants – it shows how much businesses in the town have come to rely on us for everything from helping them make cost savings through to getting them trading on-line during the pandemic."
— Belinda Hunt, Operations Manager at Cheltenham BID
Mixed-use hospitality venues are preparing to open their doors and continuing promotion to ensure a steady footfall.
‘Find your freedom’ campaign
Working with Forestry England, the Forest of Dean have launched their ‘Find your freedom’ campaign to support family cycling in the area.
Free courses to improve your online presence and digital skills.
Cotswolds Tourism are running a series of free training videos; from blogging to using social media and using Tripadvisor to email marketing and search engine optimisation.
Visit Cheltenham are focussing on getting the high street opening as well as creating some exciting events to get people back into town.
With corporate business being the hardest hit, 'Meet in Cheltenham' are working hard to drum up midweek corporate business. Visit Cheltenham are helping Cheltenham Business Improvement District (BID) with its renewal process and are hoping to be able to widen its reach to include some business-rich areas of the town and not just the retail areas.
Getting people into Gloucester; encouraging people to live, visit,
stay and do business in the city.
Lucy Barron from Donald Insall Associates joined the group to discuss how she will be working with Gloucester City Council to carry out a review of the Gloucester City Centre Conservation Area.
Visit Gloucestershire will be submitting its strategy and marketing plan to get more clarity on how best to tackle collaboration and partnerships. There is a particular focus around how visitors can benefit from the wider plans around transport and climate strategy.
Research has shown 70% of younger people interested in sustainable tourism and sustainable transport options although they are not so keen on public transport.
Local marketing activity around the canal corridor from Stroud to Stonehouse is being developed, as well as 4 'taste for travel' trails around Stroud, Stonehouse and Lydney.
Facing the challenges at the coal face of the industry, we are working together towards a brighter future for the sector.
– Steve Garner Collins, Hotelier, CEO Visit Gloucestershire and Chair of the GFirst LEP Visitor Economy and Tourism business group
FOREST OF DEAN
View free courses
Tewkesbury is planning some big anniversaries this year:
2021 sees the celebrations of 900 years of the Abbey and 500 years of the Battle of Tewkesbury with potentially more resource for tourism support to be put towards celebrating these important milestones.
Visitor Economy & Tourism
The Growth Hub offers a one-stop shop for support; be that funding, training or general expertise. There are very few providers that can offer the same services that The Growth Hub can, and that’s why we use them.
Peer Networks is a really good opportunity to speak to other businesses about the problems we’ve encountered, how we’ve got over them, what’s next for our business, and ways we can work with other people in the future. After our first session I spoke to another participant and we will be doing business together next year. We would never have known about one another if it wasn’t for Peer Networks.
Find out about Peer Networks
Find out about The Growth Hub
All Gloucestershire businesses are able to access our online business support, attend our networking events & use The Growth Hub space.
The next tier (access to our workshops and 1-2-1 events) will be open to businesses that meet European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) eligibility criteria.
At a higher level, our in-house Business Navigators and Business Guides are on-hand to offer bespoke support to businesses that show moderate growth and high growth respectively.
Listen to inspiring business stories
Solve your problems without having to find, pay for, or rely on expensive consultants.
The 2-hour free workshops, taking place over
12 weeks, will allow participants to share their own lessons and learn from those who have already been-there-done-that. Led by trained facilitators, each workshop is designed to produce solutions and answers, as well as
build a trusted network for the future.
The Growth Hub
T: 01242 715480