I have been working at Business West for the past eight weeks and I thought it would be a great idea to share my perspective and experience from a newbie's point of view.
For those of you who do not know me, my name is Blue O'Connor (a strange name I know but it would all make sense if you ever meet my parents) and I've recently joined the company as an International Trade Research Adviser.
I started my wide eyed working life in Bristol as an apprentice Aerospace Engineer at Airbus and subsequently worked for GKN Aerospace. After ten years of fulfilling service I decided it was time to have an adventure outside the comforting walls of Bristol and my girlfriend and I decided to travel and work our way around the world for eighteen months. It wasn't all sunsets and selfies and jobs such as washing dishes eight hours a day gave me a new gratitude for my education as well as my family and friends back home...there were quite a lot of sunsets and selfies though, hence why I stayed away for eighteen months!
On my return to Bristol I wanted to change my career, get involved with the local community and find a business where I could strike up a balance between my new aspirations, hobbies and social activities. I feel like I found Business West at the perfect time.
As a proud Bristolian it is great to be working for a bespoke organisation ensuring Bristol and the South West thrive now and in the future. As well as working with some of the major players in Bristol, working with small and medium size enterprises means that any entrepreneur can get support when starting, growing or exporting a business.
It's not just about business either, I love the fact that activities such as the West of England Initiative are working on key issues in the Bristol and Bath City region. It is estimated that there are, on any one night, more than 100 people sleeping rough in Bristol and I know that Business West are helping to combat this issue.
Everywhere I look, I now see influences in the city that Business West have had a positive part to play in. I was blissfully unaware that a team of people tucked away in the scenic setting of Leigh Court were furiously working towards a common goal. And what a majestic place Leigh Court is. Nestled within the grounds of Leigh Woods, I am spoiled with a daily walk among the luscious trees and to work in a building steeped in local history.
I couldn't have asked for a more welcoming start to life at Business West. Apologies if I still don't know everyone's name, it is slightly unfair competition with a name like Blue. I have already been out on two company socials with another one pencilled in before the end of the year and it's exciting to be part of a positive working culture and an ethos of trust, respect and commonality.
Some of my favourite magazines, newspapers and internet publications reference Business West on a frequent basis. Most recently, Bristol 24/7 ran a piece on 'Inequality and Business' where our very own James Durie featured heavily stating that the business community "wants and needs to be directly engaged in how we address inequality".
After all my travels, Bristol is still one of my favourite cities in the world. I love its blend of community spirit, iconic landmarks, volume of festivals, bustling music scene, green spaces, thriving food and drink industry, creativeness and richness in diversity.
We are a forward thinking city and the fact that we can admit and address the shortfalls such as homelessness, inequality, congestion, lack of premiership football and the need for affordable housing is part of our strength. What's great to know as a new starter is that Business West, its employees and members will be playing a part in every one of these issues and Bristol's further successes.