Economy and Business Growth

We are deeply engaged in ensuring the West of England remains an attractive place to work, live and do business, by encouraging enterprise in all its forms. The region's current economic performance is excellent, its GDP is above the national average and Bristol has the highest number of net start-ups outside London. However, our economic performance is significantly behind leading European cities and we are working in a number of ways to encourage greater business and economic growth.

West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP)

The Initiative helped create and form the West of England LEP. A number of Initiative members hold prominent positions and are encouraged to participate in sector groups to provide intelligence and expertise, helping to shape plans. The LEP has since published its Strategic Economic Plan, Sector Prospectus and an Investment Prospectus. The WoE LEP has been routinely cited as one of the most successful LEP’s in the country and is working together to support:

  • 95,000 new jobs by 2030
  • 3.4% annual growth by 2020
  • Over £1 billion of private sector investment over the next 3 years.

WoE LEP Strategic Economic Plan

WoE LEP Sector Prospectus

WoE LEP Investment Prospectus

Bristol European Green Capital 2015

Bristol was awarded the European Green Capital for 2015. The Initiative helped support Bristol’s bid for the European Commission’s award and plays an active part in the organisation of Bristol Green Capital as one of the lead partners. The Initiative also has one of its team, Nina Skubala, as Vice Chair for the Bristol Green Capital Partnership. We are primarily tasked with engaging the wider business community and small and medium-sized enterprises with the creation of a low carbon and sustainable city.

As one of the activities we are supporting for the year and for the longer term we have, with Low Carbon South West set up Go Green. A programme to help all sizes of businesses understand and implement sustainable measures.

Destination Bristol

Together with Bristol City Council, The Initiative set up and continues to support Destination Bristol. Representing 600 private businesses and two local authorities, Destination Bristol has two significant roles as the area’s Destination Management Organisation (DMO): developing specific projects both in the Bristol city centre retail and Harbourside areas and as the central body promoting and developing leisure and business tourism for Greater Bristol and South Gloucestershire – an industry worth over £1.6bn to the local economy.

Bristol Cultural Development Partnership

The Initiative provides financial support for the Bristol Cultural Development Partnership whose Festival of Ideas is now a significant part of the cultural and intellectual life of the city.


The Scottish independence referendum has sparked the ‘next big political power debate’. Although Scotland rejected independence, the country is set for greater power as all three UK party leaders committed to further devolution of powers in the event of a no vote. As a result this has led to English cities and regions now asking: What about us? Our research shows that the majority of businesses in the South West (68%) believe that giving English cities and regions more powers to promote local growth would have a positive impact on the UK economy.

The Initiative is working to seek answers for questions such as:

What powers would be devolved?
What level would these powers be devolved to?
How can business be fully represented in the process?

Read more on West of England Devolution via our decicated Campaigns for Change hub

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