Our collaboration of 5 accredited Chambers of Commerce in the South West aims to improve and support the South West economy and promote the region as a great place to do business. It also provides a regional voice to the business community.
The South West is well known to be a superb place to do business. It provides an attractive commercial environment with its rich mix of vibrant commerce and natural assets with diverse and dynamic communities offering a great work/life balance and exceptional opportunities.
BCCSW believes that the region can do even better and prosper with the right focus. The position statements below highlight where that focus should lie:
1) Business Partnerships
BCCSW works in partnership with the public and private sector to ensure that businesses have the support and environment required to grow and prosper. Accredited Chambers of Commerce coordinate business support as they are connected with local businesses of all sizes and understand local need.
Physical: BCCSW supports good connectivity to improve productivity. The physical infrastructure alone is not good enough. BCCSW seeks improved investment in the rail, road and air network to provide a robust infrastructure across the South West that is resilient and offers flexibility for strategic growth. This infrastructure must include designated employment land.
Digital (including mobile and broadband): Business requires adequate connectivity and coverage, both in rural and city areas, for 21st century organisations to grow. This is especially important in the context of the burgeoning digital economy which is a major strength in the South West and has huge potential.
3) Digital Business
The region is best placed to recruit into and operate digital businesses which already form a significant part of the local economy. All businesses need to invest in innovative and disruptive technologies, embracing change to be modern, efficient and productive.
There is a national skills shortage and the region has a proportionately high reliance on migrant workers, which is especially difficult in the context of Brexit. It is vital to attract and retain good businesses and talent in the region. It is important that educational institutions prepare people adequately for work with employability and life skills. Chambers are working hard to link business, education and training in a meaningful way in order to provide a flexible and agile workforce that is fit for the future and for jobs that may not yet exist.
Providing adequate and affordable housing stock for local people that strikes a balance between wealth migrating to the region and local business needs is essential to attract and retain skilled and key workers to enable growth.
6) International Trade
Chambers of Commerce are the go-to organisations for international trade and are recognised globally as trusted networks that support and promote trade and open new markets for our members. Encouraging supply chains and building capacity, combined with appropriate infrastructure, increases productivity and enables growth. We continue to campaign hard to enable frictionless trade as Brexit develops.
7) Environment (Clean Energy and Sustainability)
The South West provides a unique, attractive and asset-rich environment that has captivated businesses at the cutting edge of energy generation. There are superb opportunities for the South West to be the UK centre of clean and sustainable energy solutions and BCCSW will support those aspirations while striking a balance between preserving the natural beauty of the environment and the needs of business.
8) Policy & Legislation (including Business Rates and Regulation)
BCCSW encourages simplified regulation and policies that minimise bureaucracy and the hidden costs of doing business. Business should be engaged and consulted with before setting any policy or regulation that affects them. The business rates system should be fair and proportionate and recognise the changing business environments.
5 Accredited Chambers in the Partnership
- Business West Chambers of Commerce (Bristol, Bath, Gloucestershire & Wiltshire)
- Cornwall Chamber of Commerce
- Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce
- Dorset Chamber of Commerce
- Somerset Chamber of Commerce