Business Connections – shouting about our great micro and small businesses04 September 2018
Across our patch, the vast majority of businesses are micro-businesses with less than ten employees and self-employment is significantly above the national average, especially in our more rural areas.
Simply visit one of our many market towns and you will find that they provide local employment, stability and community spirit. They have their own unique character and distinctiveness but against this backdrop, retail and general trading conditions are challenging with high streets in particular feeling the force of our changing shopping habits and lifestyles.
As a LEP, we know that town vibrancy is about creating economic and social activity in attractive, connected, and stimulating destinations to increase both footfall and dwell time. We also know that away from the high street and its retail and tourism focussed businesses, these towns are supported by a mixed economy of agriculture, professional services and manufacturing. They all have associated industrial estates either in the town or located nearby with small/medium scale manufacturing. The economic health of these towns is therefore dependent on the local workforce and connectivity within and between towns.
Our market towns are a distinct feature of the economy and with the support from local networking groups, businesses are finding new ways to make connections and build relationships at a local level. Digital connectivity and the internet provide useful platforms to engage with customers, but more often than not face to face business relationships is where the real value is gained; business is realised from the personal relationships formed.
As the largest rural LEP in England, we are hugely supportive of independent networking groups who do a fantastic job of providing breakfast meetings, lunchtime events, evening meetings and more to support business owners by connecting, conversing and collaborating.
This October, inspired by the Richmond Business Network expo day in 2017, the LEP is supporting rurally based networking groups, such as RBN, to launch Business Connections Days.
Richmond are holding their day on 9th October – for more information contact David Gibson, www.rbnetwork.couk
Thirsk and Driffield are holding their days on 11th October. For more information contact Guy Baragwanath at Thirsk & District Business Association www.thirsk4business.co.uk and Jim Ezard at Driffield District Business Club www.driffield-business.co.uk
Let’s celebrate and help generate the spirit and inspiration of “small” through partnership, collaboration and the power of local and personal relationships between businesses.