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inspire BUSINESS WEST – CONNECTING BUSINESSES COMMENT & OPINION Keeping you up-to-date with the latest political policies and decisions that affect South West businesses


The Chinese delegation at Business West


Making the 4th industrial revolution work for us


By Ian Bell Director – Bath Chamber, Business West


A process has just started to produce a blueprint for the West of England, setting out how the area can benefit from the next Industrial Revolution. But this time it won’t be about factories belching smoke, but rather how to develop modern manufacturing, making green technologies. One of the objectives is


to ensure we can leverage funding from Government to build more homes more quickly, to seek investment to improve public transport and improve skill levels. The mayor for the West of England Combined


Authority, Tim Bowles, announced how a fresh industrial strategy for the sub-region can be created, which puts us in the best position to be able to take advantage of the development of industries of the future. It’s really important that our district plays a significant role because there is huge effort being put in by companies along the M4 corridor and we must not be left behind. The whole of the West of England has a


strong track record in energy, sustainability, digital and low carbon start-up companies, and we have some brilliant expertise in our universities and colleges. We should do what we can to support


businesses with key skills such as green retro fitting, modern architecture, engineering and technical innovation. It’s not only ethically right, but by one estimate, the UK’s clean economy could grow at four times the rate of GDP. That means new industries being created and existing industries transformed as we move towards a low carbon, more resource-efficient economy. In recent times we have sometimes


concentrated on supporting creative industries, perhaps now is the time to turn our attention to modern manufacturing to create a balanced economy which will produce jobs for all.


12 insight JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2019


A stronger link with China can boost trade


Business West Chambers of Commerce welcomed a delegation of business leaders from the Shandong Province Chamber of Commerce to Leigh Court recently to help strengthen trade links between this important region of China and Bristol, Bath and the West of England. The delegation visited the UK to


develop a better understanding of the British economy and explore investment opportunities. In particular they chose to visit Bristol and the West of England as they recognised it has the best performing economy outside of London and the South East, and a growing reputation for collaboration, innovation and enterprise. Roundtable talks focused on exploring the


Province Chamber of Commerce and explore how we could look to create new opportunities from our businesses to trade and export with each other. “Despite so much media airtime being


‘Roundtable talks focused


on exploring the possibilities of business cooperation’


possibilities of business cooperation between small and medium-sized enterprises in UK and China, in addition to outlining the role of Business West’s International Trade Centre in facilitating trade and commerce with China. James Durie, chief executive of Bristol


Chamber of Commerce & Initiative at Business West and a board member of the West of England LEP, said: “We were delighted to welcome our counterparts from the Shandong


devoted to Brexit, at Business West we continue to work very hard with many partners and our members to help and support companies in the SW and beyond, at all stages of the export journey – from market research to overseas market visits, finding buyers to fulfilling export documentation – right up to ensuring payment is received.” Paul Hardman, director at Gregg Latchams Solictors,


attended the event. He said: “We have been working with Chinese companies coming to the UK and UK


companies going to China for eight years and it is encouraging to see how the UK’s relationship with China is maturing. Initially, State Owned Enterprises were dominant but now we are seeing delegation like this one from Shandong Province who are building a platform for SMEs on both sides to learn from each other and do business. Organisations like Business West and my own firm are an excellent way for UK SMEs to connect into this new development.”


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