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May 2015


West of England LEP welcomes Business Secretary to the region to announce Enterprise Bill
The Government’s newly appointed Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, visited the Engine Shed to announce the forthcoming ambitious Enterprise Bill aimed at cutting red tape by at least £10 billion and establishing a new Small Business Conciliation Service to help settle disputes over payment.

WofE LEP Chair, Colin Skellett, said: “The West of England is one of the UK’s most economically successful regions and the most productive of all the Core City LEP regions. The University of the West of England produces more entrepreneurs than any other university in the country and Bristol has the highest number of business start-ups of all the core cities, so we need to ensure they have the best possible conditions in order to flourish. more

Apprenticeship graduation ceremony recognising high achievers
The inaugural West of England Apprenticeship graduation ceremony was held at the University of Bristol on 16 April. Aimed at both current apprenticeship achievers and employers new to apprenticeships, the graduation itself was preceded by an information session highlighting the benefits of apprenticeships both for business and the individual.

Organised by the Western Training Provider Network and supported by the FE Colleges and unitary authorities, there was a clear indication of support from both business and providers to repeat the activity in 2016 - the SW Apprenticeship Ambassador group have already picked up the mantel with National Apprenticeship Service HQ to see how funding can be secured. more

Industry leaders from across the globe announced for Venturefest Bristol & Bath 2015
Some of the best-known digital and tech experts from across the globe have been lined-up to speak at Venturefest Bristol & Bath 2015.

The programme includes Leo Johnson, founder of Sustainable Finance, as well as IMDb founder Col Needham, Gerard Grech, CEO of TechCityUK and director of technology at SXSW, Scott Wilcox.

The event, which is being held on Tuesday 9 June, has attracted support from leading global businesses including Airbus, KPMG, Skanska and First Group. more

Faster journey times to London a step closer  as Great Weston electrification gets underway
Network Rail are starting the electrification works locally with the main line between Bath and Chippenham closing for 6 weeks 18 July – 31 August.  Whilst disruption is inevitable, both Bath and Bristol will remain open and trains will still be running between Bristol and Bath and up to London.

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West of England tourism awards
At-Bristol Science Centre was recently awarded a bronze Sustainable Tourism Award at the annual Visit England Awards for Excellence. At-Bristol’s commitment to sustainability has been demonstrated over the past 4 years by reduced energy consumption of 32%.

The Create Centre has also been awarded Green Tourism Gold Status for 2015.  As well as offering flexible spaces for conferences and events, Create is home to 27 green and ethical businesses.

The Roman Baths have also received an Award of Excellence based on visitors’ ratings for the third consecutive year, the award recognise UK hotels and visitor attractions that have received a greater than 90% customers satisfaction rating.



Last chance to shape the future skills strategy for our region
The 2015 West of England LEP Business Skills Survey is closing on Friday 12 June so this is your last chance to share your skills and recruitment challenges. We have had a great response from local businesses including Atkins, Icon Films and At-Bristol, but the more responses we have, the better we can shape the future skills strategy for our region. Take part in the 10 minute survey here

Avon Gorge People’s Nature Reserve launched
Avon Wildlife Trust has launched it “people’s nature reserve” in the Avon Gorge as part of their My Wild City campaign. The project has involved over a thousand people from across Bristol over the past two years and it is hoped that it will inspire others to do something amazing for wildlife in their own community. more

New Bridge for Bath – shortlist announced
Following a competition to design the new Bath Quays bridge the Council’s jury have evaluated the 49 entries and shortlisted 7 which will be displayed in a public exhibition.  A winner will be announced in the autumn. more

Crocodile app snaps up first Green Capital digital prize
Across the UK 40% of school children are dropped off by car, adding to rush-hour traffic and poor air quality. There is however a growing use of “walking buses” and “cycling trains” which offer an active way for pupils to get to school safely escorted by adult volunteers.  On the back of this, a team of Bristol tech experts have devised an app called Crocodile, which enables parents to book their child onto a route and track their progress to and from school.  The team has been awarded the £50K Bristol 2015 Green Capital Digital Challenge - allowing two team members to work full time on the app.

Profits take-off at Bristol Airport thanks to record passenger numbers
Bristol Airport has reported a rise of 14% in pre-tax profits to £29.4m from £25.8m in 2013. The results were due to increase passenger numbers and capacity on key routes. Robert Sinclair, Chief executive said “Airports are useful barometers for the economy of the region they server, so growth of passenger numbers at Bristol Airport is good news for the South West”. more

Bath BID generates economic growth
Bath’s Business Improvement District (BID) has been a remarkable success story generating 3.5 times more income than predicted.  BID has worked in collaboration with Bath Tourism Plus (BTP) to support retailers and city centre businesses during the quieter months for tourism by staging events such as Bath in Fashion and Great Bath Feast. more

The Big Commuter Challenge is back - 1st June – 31 July
The Big Commuter Challenge is an initiative taking place across Bristol aimed at improving infrastructure, reducing commuting time and congestion.  This year the aim is to get 5000 commuters participating. Record each new journey made on the Challenge website or free app and be in with a chance to win a prize.

The Edge opens at the University of Bath
HRH The Earl of Wessex formally opened the University of Bath’s newest building, the Edge which provides students, staff and the wider community with an unique hub of culture and innovation.  University of Bath VC, Prof Dame Glynis Breakwell, said “Bringing the creative arts and the study of management together under one roof is a new departure for Bath and is unique amongst UK universities, arts organisations and business schools.” more



West of England Growth fund beneficiary awarded fifth place The Drum
True Digital, who WEGF have supported with £80K towards their office expansion and investment in back office functions, have been named 5th in the Drum Independent Agencies 2015 Census.  Agencies are ranked on three measures of success – financial performance, client satisfaction and peer recommendation, it looks to showcase the success of independents in a sector dominated by large networks. more

Successful year for North Somerset start- ups
All 13 new businesses launched during March 2014 with the support from the North Somerset Enterprise Agency (NSEA) are still trading a year on.  NSEA provides advice, support, training and information to small businesses and starts ups.

Adopt Greener business practices for a week
Go Green is encouraging all of Bristol’s businesses to spend one week (15-19th June) adopting greener business practices and engage staff on sustainable issues as part of Bristol’s year as European Green Capital. more

Four West of England SMEs named on top exporter list
Four companies in the West of England (Shiner, Creditcall, Corner Shop and Pukka) have been ranked on the first Sunday Times BT Business SME Export Track 100 league table, ranking the UK’s small and medium-sized companies with the fastest growing international sales over the last two years. more

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