What we do

We are the voice of business for the West of England. Working alongside local councils, local enterprise partnership and key stakeholders, the Initiative provides an effective link between the private, public and third sectors; ensuring that business can channel its voice and help shape and influence policies.

Working in partnership with members, over the next year we will continue focusing on our mission to bring leaders together to create a prosperous city region, and are committed to providing a voice for business by representing your views to local councils, local enterprise partnerships and key stakeholders. The overarching themes of our work in the coming year are:

  • Promoting clean inclusive growth
  • Transforming transport and mobility
  • Tackling deprivation
  • Improving education and skills

We work with business and community leaders with a passion for creating meaningful, long lasting change for our city. 

A number of our successful projects include; 

Bringing Life Back to the City Centre

In 1995, the Initiative formed the Broadmead Board with Bristol City Council. The Board highlighted how powerful a public/private partnership could be in bringing about change and through the re-development of Broadmead and the Harbourside, the Initiative was able to reinstall confidence in the major retailers and restore the city centre. Through further leadership of the Broadmead Board, the Initiative helped to secure the £500 million re-development of Bristol City’s shopping centre, Cabot Circus. Today, members of the Initiative Team sit on the Broadmead BID, City Centre BID and the Redcliffe and Temple BID. 

Visitor Economy 

It is vital that our region can attract visitors and make them want to return. As a result, the Initiative and Bristol City Council established public/private ventures which successfully attract more and more visitors each year to our city. One of those ventures set up by the Initiative is Visit West, a destination management company which markets the West of England and its surrounding area to tourists from all over the world.

A City to be Proud of – The Matthew

To coincide with the redevelopment of the Harbourside and the 500th anniversary of John Cabot’s historic voyage to Newfoundland in 1497, the Initiative played a significant role in the construction and launch of a replica of his ship, the Matthew. The Initiative supported the replica ship to re-enact the historic achievement and cross the Atlantic. The Matthew departed Bristol in front of a packed Harbourside and was greeted in Newfoundland by Her Majesty the Queen and HRH Duke of Edinburgh.

Creating a City of Diversity and Culture

In order for a city to prosper, it needs to attract and retain the brightest students, businesses, and employees, and culture is vital to sustain this environment. The Initiative helped create the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership, now called Bristol Ideas, which plays a significant role in the formation of many major cultural projects throughout the region.

Our first major project was the construction of Millennium Square, a derelict railway goods shed which has been transformed into the showpiece of the redeveloped Harbourside. The Square now forms part of the We The Curious development and is an attractive and popular public space which hosts exhibitions and festivals.