A major new initiative to shape the future of the region’s economy is being launched by the organisation tasked with driving growth across Shropshire/Herefordshire.
The Marches Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) is urging businesses to play a leading role as it draws up far-reaching plans to ensure the region continues to flourish for years to come.
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).
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 a consultation process was now being launched and urged businesses to make sure their voices were heard. The next consultation event will be held on June 22 at the Park House Hotel in Shifnal.
"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.
"I’m looking forward to the event on June 22, when we want to hear from as many businesses as possible. 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.
"If there are gaps at the moment, we want to hear about them so that we can help do something about them. And if there are issues which are standing in the way of businesses reaching their goals, we want to know about them too.
"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. They have already met with Telford Business Board, and will be meeting both Shropshire and Herefordshire Business Boards in the coming weeks.
Businesses are being urged to attend Shropshire Chamber’s Professionals Partnership meeting on June 22 to hear from LEP partnership manager Kathryn Jones who will give a keynote presentation about the strategic plan.
The event will be at Shifnal’s Park House Hotel between 7.30am-10am. Tickets costs £20, includes a full breakfast and is open to all businesses – visit https://www.shropshire-chamber.co.uk/events/the-professionals-partnership-6/
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.