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Business West played host to Mark Carney, Governor of the Bank of England, at Engine Shed in Bristol, as part of his first visit to the South West on Monday 28th April 2014.
Governor Carney met with the Executive Director of Business West, the Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, and the Mayor of Bristol, George Ferguson, as well as a range of business and university leaders. He heard about the improving economic indicators in the region’s economy and also some of the major challenges to jobs and sustainable growth.
James Durie, Executive Director of Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative at Business West, said: “Bristol is the engine of the South West with the strongest performing economy outside of London, and we welcomed the opportunity to discuss with Mark Carney the measures that will spur the economy of our region. He was particularly keen to hear about the issues facing businesses and the challenges and barriers to growth in our region, including access to finance for start-ups and SMEs, who are the backbone of economic growth.”
Colin Skellett, chair of the West of England LEP, said: “The West of England economy is worth £25.5 billion a year and we contribute around £10 billion nationally to the Treasury. Today gave us the opportunity to showcase the success of our economy and talk about the key central economic issues that are crucial to ensuring continued economic growth. We shared with him our views on the availability of finance for small business and the importance of getting more businesses to export to help decrease the UK’s export deficit, as well as the challenges of addressing affordable housing needs and tackling the skills gap in our workforce. All of these issues are fundamental to future economic success.”
At Engine Shed, Governor Carney also met with Engine Shed director and director of university business incubator, SETsquared, Nick Sturge. There followed a series of company visits and tour of Bristol SETsquared Centre.
Nick Sturge said: “Today the Governor visited a number of high tech, high growth businesses within the SETsquared centre here and we shared our business challenges. He met two of our three crowd-funding start-ups as well as some businesses that have been crowd-funded. We see this as an exciting new dimension to the funding environment for business growth and it was good to show Mr Carney what is emerging here.”
Governor Carney said: “I very much enjoyed the opportunity to meet and speak with several local start-ups at the Engine Shed, as part of my visit to the Southwest today. Being able to hear directly from firms across the region about the business conditions and challenges they face provides the Bank with valuable insight as we formulate our policies to support monetary and financial stability in the UK. My visit to the Engine Shed also demonstrated that Bristol continues to build on its legacy as a beacon of creativity and innovation.”
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