To celebrate the 30th anniversary of Great Western Enterprise (GWE), local businesses and former staff members attended a special event at STEAM to mark the occasion.
Since 1986, the organisation has been committed to helping the community by providing help and advice to companies.
Through partnership working, pre-empting and being innovative, GWE has assisted in the creation of many jobs and continues to provide a range of services which encourage economic growth across a wide geographical area.
Commenting on the 30th anniversary, Norman Hayes, the first Chairman of GWE, said:
“Back in 1986, both Swindon and Wiltshire were hit hard by the closure of the railworks. Over 1,300 jobs were lost and male unemployment in Swindon rose to over 7,000.
“GWE was instrumental in helping Swindon and Wiltshire bounce back from this dark day. With the finance package as part of the closure, we subsequently provided local businesses with start up grants, loans, training, management support and workspace to lay the foundations of the strong economy we see today.
“We’ve provided a huge amount of support to local businesses over the last 30 years, and we will continue to support the economic and social prosperity of the area in the years ahead.”
Ian Larrard, Current Director of the Swindon and Wiltshire Initiative, part of GWE Business West, said:
“GWE has done so much for Swindon in terms of both economic and social prosperity, and the future looks bright on both fronts.
“As we close this part of the history of GWE it is fitting to be in the Swindon 175 year, celebrating the anniversary of the railworks which put our town on the map. The company’s origins and development owe so much to the railworks and its legacy.
“Both these anniversaries give us a chance to showcase Swindon’s track record as a place of economic innovation, with a thriving business community which will help us enhance ‘brand Swindon’ to attract new waves of investment.”