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Three or four businesses a week express an interest in relocating to Swindon

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Chris ParsonsChris ParsonsBetween three and four business a week express an interest in relocating to Swindon, attracted by its location and skilled workforce.

The figure was shared by Chris Parsons, economic development officer at Swindon Borough Council, at a recent Swindon Business & Economy meeting, a regular forum organised by Business West, with the support of the Swindon and Wiltshire Local Enterprise Partnership.

Chris also explained the council's business retention and expansion function, which proactively connects with existing businesses in Swindon to understand and respond to their needs.

Switch on to Swindon’s Kris Talikowski demonstrated an impressive virtual reality map of Swindon created by CartoConsult. The map - which gives a bird’s eye view of Swindon and allows users to swoop down and see where all the regeneration is happening - has been commissioned as an interactive tool to attract inward investment.

Paddy Bradley, Director of SWLEP spoke about the LEPs current work stream and covered topics including board diversity and the need to raise awareness of R&D funding among Swindon firms, who lag behind regional competitors in terms of take up.

Philanthropy director of Wiltshire Community Foundation Jo Brady spoke about the Foundation’s expanded brief in Swindon.

Wiltshire Community Foundation is an independent charity that gives grants and funding to the voluntary sector and charities across Wiltshire and Swindon.

They are an expert on local need and disadvantage in communities and offer high quality advice and support for all types of donors who want to make a difference in their local area.

While historically emphasis has been on Wiltshire, in recent times there has been a shift of emphasis on supporting charities and disadvantaged communities in Swindon.

Andrew Wells, initiative manager and co-founder of YESwindon (Young Enterprise Swindon) - the new networking group aimed at 18-35-year-olds – showed a short video from the recent launch event, where professional skateboarder and Broadcaster James Threlfall MBE was the guest speaker.

And Business West director of policy Matt Griffith, discussed how the Swindon & Wiltshire Initiative policy team can offer local businesses advice and consultancy on a range of issues and advise around Brexit and routes into Whitehall, while Ian Larrard, director of Business West also covered some of the other work being undertaken, namely engagement on the Honda Taskforce to the Local Plan review and some of the wide range of business support activities provided.

For more information on upcoming Swindon & Wiltshire Initiative events visit www.businesswest.co.uk/initiative/swindon-wiltshire/events