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Caerphilly Business Forum blog: Keep it local

Published in Comment, News at 13:49, Thursday July 26th, 2012.

By

Tony Sheehan, chair of Caerphilly Business Forum

In his regular column for Caerphilly Observer, Caerphilly Business Forum’s chair Tony Sheehan looks at how business investment should be kept as local as possible.

Apparently, people in the Valleys need cheering up a bit. Like a lot of places in Britain’s former industrial heartland, we were found to be less happy than most in a survey published this week.

Of course, it’s not easy to be cheerful when you’re out of work – it’s a blight which would have a profound effect on many of us.

I don’t suppose the UK’s economic growth figures this week did much to cheer anyone up either but I’d like to focus on the positives and what we can do to help the situation.

When people say the economy is weak or fragile, they mean it isn’t going to leap up from its sick bed and start growing quickly. And there’s nothing the Government can do to produce a quick fix.

However, there are things we can all do to help. For instance, the recent green light for the electrification of the Valleys rail lines will itself stimulate growth but to maximise our return on investment we need to ensure as much work as possible goes to local businesses and that jobs go to local people.

Caerphilly Business Forum has been involved in similar local initiatives, working with Caerphilly County Borough Council and private investors to identify real opportunities for local businesses and helping them take them.

Some countries have rules to ensure a certain proportion of any significant inward investment must be spent locally. While I’d hate to see more red tape binding the hands of businesses, I’d like to see the spirit of this approach become the norm, with companies able to boast about their local spending credentials, just as they boast about their green credentials.

This approach not only helps people who are unemployed get back to work but it also makes them economically active again which is vital to the local economy.

Last month the CBF and the local authority presented the “Get Caerphilly Working” campaign to help potential employers understand the real support that was available to them when employing local people.

This isn’t relying on central government; it’s local people and organisations working together to help themselves. And with that particular mind-set, a lot of us could make a difference. Perhaps even a big difference.

Tony Sheehan
Chairman, Caerphilly Business Forum

For more information about Caerphilly Business Forum and its events call 029 2125 1395 or email [email protected]

Speed networking for business people in Caerphilly, Merthyr Tydfil and Rhondda Cynon Taf

Business people from across the South Wales Valleys met up for a speed networking session at Llancaiach Fawr Manor last week.

Members of three groups – the Caerphilly Business Forum, Merthyr Business Club and Rhondda Cynon Taff Business Club – joined together for the breakfast networking event.

Editor of the Caerphilly Observer Richard Gurner kicked off the meeting with a spotlight talk on the best ways of gaining positive publicity in today’s press, online and broadcast media.

Wayne Morris of Simway Business Solutions talked about how his firm is building on its coaching and mentoring skills by developing short business courses in partnership with the Metropolitan University of Cardiff.

Mostyn Thomas spoke about the range of IT support and security systems that Astrix Integrated Solutions provide.
After the three spotlight speakers the 80 business delegates began intensive networking – exchanging names, contact details and business information in a series of quick-fire one to one meetings.

The idea of the speed networking session was to give all the delegates the opportunity to meet and talk with their counterparts from different business communities.

There was a wide range of mini discussions on the opportunities for working in partnership across industries ranging from IT to manufacturing and from hospitality and the arts to finance and recruitment.

Natalie Wyatt of the Caerphilly Business Forum, Claire Curtis of the Rhondda Cynon Taff Business Club and Wendy Locke of Merthyr Business Club blew on a referee’s whistle to keep the delegates moving quickly around the crowded conference tables.

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