Miranda Dobson

Member Article

Digital change welcomed by M3 corridor firms

The economic growth strategy for the M3 corridor has received “overwhelming support” from businesses, third sector organisations, and local government in the region.

200 delegates attended the LEP’s third annual conference last week where it rallied small and medium sized businesses to embrace technological changes to cut costs, increase market share and explore trade opportunities.

The LEP also hopes to accelerate growth using Government funding, increase workskills for local businesses, help companies in the region access finance,

It has also prioritised a campaign for regulatory changes to foster a “business-friendly” environment and a culture of entrepreneurship.

Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) covers 81,500 companies across Hampshire including centres such as Winchester, Guilford and Basingstoke, and accounts for almost 20% of the South East’s wealth.

Delegates were addressed by Mike Rushworth, managing director of rural business, Vitacress Salads, who urged companies to stay ahead of digital trends.

Penny Power, co-founder of Surrey-based online network Ecademy, said more SMEs need a digital presence, as only 14% sell online and just 1% are selling via social networks.

She challenged organisations in the Enterprise M3 LEP to take on social media and develop skills to carry out business using digital mediums.

Keynote speaker on the day was BBC presenter and journalist Andrew Neil, who highlighted strengths in the M3 corridor, and areas where improvements have to be made.

Geoff French, chairman of the LEP and former chair of consulting engineers Scott Wilson, commented: “We now have to get our act together, and particularly in terms of promoting the area.

“We have so much going for us, with the most resilient economy in the UK, a great quality of life and a highly educated workforce.

“We now need to address the immediate needs of businesses to ensure that we can provide apprenticeships that help tackle youth unemployment, the housing to attract and retain skilled workers and the infrastructure that enables easy access and keeps the lines of communication well and truly open.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Miranda Dobson .

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