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Somerset businesses set to benefit from year of change

Business Leader says cultural change will help local firms

Despite uncertainties caused by a looming General Election and continuing concern about house prices and rising interest rates, Brian Archer, Managing Director of Business Link Somerset, says the future looks bright for the majority of businesses in the county.  At last, there are clear signs that many of the hurdles faced by local firms look set to ease over the coming months.   Not only are planning restrictions – that so often hinder business growth – coming under intense scrutiny, but the county-wide introduction of high speed broadband technology and improved access to business support services and training represent a real boost to the Somerset economy.

Mr Archer believes the growing influence of the South West Regional Development Agency and increasing effectiveness of the Somerset Strategic Partnership are providing the leadership and direction necessary for greater business confidence and economic impact in the county.

Its all very well having a vision for increasing prosperity, but, unless the means exist to make real changes that make a real difference, such a vision would continue to reside in another well-meaning talking-shop.  That’s no longer the case.  Were now seeing some very significant moves to provide tangible support and encouragement for small businesses right across the county.

The forthcoming broadband programme will mean that firms in our more rural locations will no longer be playing catch-up with their competitors.  A widespread acknowledgement that restrictive planning constraints must no longer drive firms and skilled people away from the region or compromise our enterprise culture, is very encouraging.  And, much greater collaboration between the various support agencies will provide clearer and simplified access for businesses looking to benefit from external training and business development services as well as subsidised support.  These are just three of the many reasons why 2005 is shaping up to be an exciting and positive year for local employers and their employees.

Business Link Somerset is playing a central role in helping local firms become more competitive, to hold on to their skilled workforce and to make the most of opportunities for developing their business and their profits.  It is now working closely with other authorities and agencies to ensure that such services are readily and easily accessible for small firms in all corners of the county.  It will also be introducing a number of initiatives during the year to support people looking to start their own business and provide further encouragement for young entrepreneurs.

We cant just wave a magic wand, but we are providing the means for individuals to fulfil their business aspirations and we are continuing to push for any changes that will benefit small businesses, maximise the economic capacity of the county and support Somersets growing enterprise culture, adds Brian Archer.


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