Businesses across the Marches are urged to have their say on a major new initiative to shape the future of the region’s economy.
The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) – the organisation tasked with driving growth across the county – wants businesses of all sizes to play a leading role as it maps out its vision for the future of the region.
The LEP – which has already helped attract £285m of Government, European, public and private sector funding to Herefordshire, Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin – has launched a comprehensive consultation over its new Strategic Economic Plan (SEP).
It is now giving businesses the chance to have a direct input into the review at special events in Shrewsbury on Monday and Hereford on Tuesday.
The plan will give a detailed analysis of the Marches economy as it stands and pinpoint the key areas which will help the region sustain and develop growth.
As part of the project, the LEP is also drawing up a new Local Industrial Strategy to underpin its economic plan with detailed plans to drive growth, raise productivity and create more prosperous communities.
Marches LEP chairman Graham Wynn said the next consultation events – for businesses within the Shropshire and Herefordshire council areas – are being hosted by Shropshire Business Board at Shrewsbury Town Football Club on Monday July 9 and Herefordshire Business Board at Hereford Racecourse on Tuesday July 10.
Mr Wynn said much of the success of the SEP depended on the breadth of input from local businesses.
"The work we are doing is absolutely crucial to building on the successful economy we already have in the Marches and making sure it continues to thrive over the coming years," he said.
"In 2014 the LEP produced its economic plan which outlined the Marches’ priorities. After four years, it is time for the SEP to be updated and to have business voices shape the priorities for the future.
"The business boards and the Marches LEP would, therefore, like to bring the region’s businesses together for this consultation in order to create a SEP that meets business needs and ambitions.
"We want to know what barriers to growth currently exist, what opportunities they foresee in the coming years and what we can do to help them realise their ambitions.
"By fully understanding the strengths and weaknesses of our current economy we can work in partnership with our local authorities, Government and our businesses to remove obstacles and target funding at the areas where it is most needed and where the greatest opportunities lie."
Consultants Metro Dynamics have been appointed to work with the LEP to develop the SEP.
The events are free of charge and start at 4.30pm. Places are limited and tickets can be booked at:
In the coming weeks, businesses will be urged to get involved in the consultation via social media using the hashtag #marchesforgrowth and an online survey will also be launched.