History of the Initiative
In 1989, a group of far-sighted business leaders formed the Bristol Initiative. Two decades later, with an impressive record of achievement, we continue with our long term ambitions for the area.
Part of the Business West group, a membership and business services organisation, the Initiative is a business leadership team that enables the business community to play a part in influencing the way our area is shaped, managed and developed. Providing an effective link between the private and public sectors we ensure that the interests of commerce are taken into account when key decisions are made at local, regional and national levels.
To understand why the Initiative was formed, it is necessary to go back to the late 1980s when Britain was suffering turmoil in many of its cities, including Bristol, and the country was heading towards a severe economic downturn. Businesses could have stood back and left it to local and national government to solve the problems. However, there were enough people in Bristol to say that wasn't good enough and that business could and should have a part to play in tackling important issues as well as planning and shaping the environment in which it operates.
The Initiative became a multi talented think tank which developed the ideas set out in a CBI report, called 'Initiatives Beyond Charity' that encouraged business to provide the leadership and the vision to reverse the cycle of economic and social decline.
The Initiative opted to provide leadership through pushing and influencing rather than setting ourselves up against rival councils. The public/private partnerships formed with our help have been operated with goodwill, recognising the role business can play in supporting the elected members of local authorities to get things done.
"We have learned many lessons during our first twenty years, the most important of which has been the value of partnership working in which the role of local authorities and the wider public sector is respected but also enhanced by the active involvement of the private sector."