Opinion

An update from David Owen, CEO GFirst LEP

Written by: David Owen, CEO GFirst LEP | Posted 30 April 2020 10:52

An update from David Owen, CEO GFirst LEP

Recovery from the coronavirus pandemic represents the single biggest economic challenge since the Second World War.

However, it also presents the single biggest opportunity to reshape the British economy to make it more inclusive, productive, sustainable, innovative, and resilient.

Last week we organised a meeting with a cross section of organisations from across the county including the FSB, NFU, Circle2Success, the voluntary sector and all our local authorities.

The meeting was set up to capture further intelligence from our business community regarding how the coronavirus is affecting Gloucestershire businesses right now and what is likely to happen in the coming weeks and months.

All of our Business Groups continue to meet, virtually, again to help capture this vital information. We are having daily conversations with central Government and feeding back concerns and queries from our business community.

In terms of a Recovery Plan, we have been looking at the impact of the government’s economic measures on businesses and communities and identifying where additional support is needed.

We will continue to work with central Government to ensure we have what is needed for economic recovery in Gloucestershire and identify the next stages of support needed.

Things we should be considering?

- Support for our Visitor Economy, Tourism and Hospitality sector – a countywide campaign to promote ‘staycations’ in Gloucestershire
- Operating in a climate of increased remote working and ongoing social distancing
- Increasing large scale procurement in the county to support Gloucestershire companies – particularly our farm businesses?
- The impact on our advanced engineering and manufacturing and others who trade globally
- Changes to the high street and retail economy – how do we get more of our retailers online?

If you have any ideas you would like us to put forward please email me at info@gfirstlep.com.

Our Local Authorities are working hard to get the Small Business Grants along with grants for businesses in the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors paid out as quickly as possible.

Over £103 million has already been paid out to over 8,700 businesses in the county.

All our local authorities are appealing for small businesses and retail/hospitality/leisure businesses, that may be eligible for a business support grant, but have not yet applied to please get in touch.

Our Growth Hubs continue to support small and medium sized businesses, helping them navigate information on available Government support.

If you would like to speak to a Business Guide or Navigator please complete this Business Support Request Form.

In this hugely challenging time, the response of our business and wider community has been incredible, and I would like to thank all those who have gone above and beyond in their daily roles.

David Owen is chief executive officer of GFirst LEP, the local enterprise partnership for Gloucestershire.