H&F Means Business is a co-ordinated drive to cut red-tape, to get companies doing more business with each other and to try to make sure businesses have a louder voice in council decision-making.
Cllr Robert Iggulden, who has more than 30 years experience in the venture capital sector, making enabling investments in companies like Cambridge Consultants, has been appointed to the role.
Leader of the Council, Cllr Nick Botterill, said; “We want to see businesses flourish, grow and invest here, because their success helps boost the local economy and adds to the vitality of the borough.
“We believe Robert is the right person to be our first Business Champion because he has a wealth of experience built up over 20 years of investing in, and supporting, businesses.”
There are currently 19,000 businesses in the borough, employing 126,000 people. Of these, 7,500 businesses are ‘working from home’ or ‘self employed’. There are 3,500 new business start-ups within the borough, accounting for 24% of all businesses.
Cllr Iggulden said: “My first priority will be to build a pro-business approach in every council department. We need to make it easier for businesses to cut through bureaucratic processes and to listen better to their views on local policy development. I will also formally welcome new businesses when they move into borough, making sure they are connected to the support they need to thrive and proposer.”
The move is part of H&F Council’s wider Borough of Opportunity vision, which also aims to regenerate key parts of the borough, to build new homes and to help people into work.
The H&F Means Business initiative also includes:
- efforts to ensure the borough’s commercial centres and high streets are competitive places to do business
- managing a business portal: a one stop shop for all local businesses, offering support, advice and signposting to wider services including access to finance, training and procurement opportunities
- The H&F Enterprise Club for new business start-ups
- Support for the borough’s Business Improvement District; HammersmithLondon which provides nearly £1m private sector investment a year in the borough.